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The Diamond Necklace : being the true story of Marie 
Antoinette and the Cardinal de Rohan. Authorised 
translation by H. Sutherland Edwards. With 
Twelve Illustrations. 1901. Crown 8vo, 6^. 
London : John Macqueen. 

Princes and Poisoners : studies of the Court of Louis 
XIV. Translated by George Maidment. With 
Two Illustrations. Second edition. 1901. Pott 
4to, 6s. London : Duckworth and Co, 

Legends of the Bastille : the true story of the Man in 
the Iron Mask. Translated by George Maidment. 
With Eight Illustrations. 1899. Crown 8vo, 6s. 
London : Downey and Co. 






















Meditating at St. Helena on the events of 
the Revolution, Napoleon let his thoughts 
dwell on the Diamond Necklace affair. 
* Perhaps/ he said, *the death of the queen 
dates from that/ Mirabeau and Goethe 
thought the same, and it is also the con- 
clusion of the best informed of modern 
historians like M. Pierre de Nolhac. Their j 
opinion has been quoted in a former book, 
Tke Diamond Necklace, devoted to the 
origin and the development of the famous 
case. In the following pages the reader 
will find an account of the ulterior destinies 
of the chief persons involved in the mys- 
tery; and he will see by what a chain of 



circumstances Marie Antoinette was drawn 
to the scaffold. 

The unpublished documents of which 
use has been made are very numerous. 
On the majority of points facts hitherto 
unknown will be met with. We venture to 
mention this only that we may express our 
indebtedness for a great part of this new 
information to the erudition of M. Alfred 
Begis, Treasurer and Keeper of the 
Records of the Society of Contemporary 
History, and Secretary of the Society of 






































The curtain had fallen on the great Neck- 
lace act, which had been agitating all Paris 
for months. The famous Diamond Neck- 
lace had been obtained from the court 
jewellers by the Cardinal de Rohan through 
the agency of the woman calling herself 
the Countess de La Motte, on the representa- 
tion that the Queen of France, Marie 
Antoinette, had ordered it, and would pay 
for it in instalments. The instalments 
when due were not paid, and the jewellers, 
after showing themselves curiously lax men 
of business, had made inquiries which had 
resulted in the pricking of the gigantic 
bubble. The queen had never had the 



Necklace, which the countess and her 
husband had broken up and sold piecemeal. 
The question was, how far the Cardinal de 
Rohan was a dupe, how far he was an 
accomplice. He declared that the countess 
had shown him letters bearing the queen's 
signature, authorising every step he had 
taken, and that he believed the Necklace 
had been ordered by the queen. He de- 
clared also that the countess had contrived 
a meeting between himself and the queen 
one night in the grove of Venus at Ver- 
sailles. As a result of the exposure the 
cardinal was arrested, along with the Count 
and Countess de La Motte, the girl who 
called herself the Baroness d'Oliva, and 
who was said to have personated the queen, 
and the so-called Count Cagliostro, who 
had been a sort of familiar spirit to the 
cardinal. After the complicated process of 
law, in which interrogatory and confronta- 
tion succeeded confrontation and interro- 


gatory, and the various accused persons 
told their several stories, the Parlement 
had at last delivered its verdict. The 
signature of the queen was declared a 
forgery. Cagliostro and the cardinal were 
acquitted of all complicity in the crime ; the 
Baroness d'Oliva was acquitted, with a mild 
censure for having allowed herself to be the 
tool of designing villains ; and the Count de 
La Motte was sentenced to the galleys for life. 
The protagonist, the petite, vivacious, extra- 
ordinarily clever Madame de La Motte, was 
condemned to be whipped, naked, by the 
public executioner, branded on the shoulders 
with the letter V [voleuse, robber), confined 
at the Salpetriere gaol for the rest of 
her life, and deprived of all her pro- 
perty. The sentences on the La Mottes 
were severe enough ; the absolute acquittal 
of the cardinal was a great blow to the 
royal house. The king, Louis xvi., who 
had acted throughout with astonishing want 


of foresight and lack of judgment, sent the 
cardinal to his Benedictine Abbey of La 
Chaise- Dieu, and exiled Cagliostro, who 
departed with his wife for England. La 
Motte escaped ; his wife suffered her igno- 
minious branding and was incarcerated in 
the Conciergerie. 

It is with the further fortunes of these 
actors, and some of their associates, and 
with the circumstances leading up to the 
death of the queen, that the following pages 
have to do. 

G. M. 



Cagliostro had no sooner left the Bastille 
than, seeing the unanimous movement 
of sympathy evoked by Nicole d'Oliva, 
and always keenly alive to the trend of 
public opinion, he hastened to send the 
young woman seven hundred crowns. This 
soon found its way into the Gazettes, with 
commentaries : * This is how the extra- 
ordinary man avenges himself for calumni- 
ous reports. He is accused of charlatanism, 
and he passes his life in relieving the un- 
fortunate ! ' In the little lodging he occu- 
pied for a short time at Passy, he received 
* all Paris ' before he left — writers, parlia- 
mentarians, Duval d'Epremesnil ; and when 


people thought they ought to make a 
reference to his misfortunes, he displayed 
immense wealth, saying : * I don't need 
anybody's assistance; don't pity me.' 

On June 13, he made his preparations 
for departure, in obedience to the lettre 
de cachet exiling him from France. After 
having gone to find his wife, who had re- 
tired to Saint- Denis, he arrived at Boulogne 
on the 1 6th, and embarked for England. 
'The shores I left,' he said, *were lined 
with a crowd of citizens of all conditions, 
who blessed me, and thanked me for the 
good I had done their brethren. They plied 
me with the most touching farewells. The 
winds were already wafting me far from 
them ; I no longer heard them, but I saw 
them still, their hands raised towards heaven, 
and I blessed them in my turn, and cried 
out again and again as though they could 
hear me: ''Farewell, Frenchmen! farewell, 
my children ; my country, farewell ! " ' 


On arriving in London, Cagliostro issued 
his celebrated ' Letter to the French People/ 
It is dated June 26, 1786. 

' I have been hunted from France,' ex- 
claims the prophet ; * the king has been 
deceived. Kings are to be pitied for having 
such ministers. I mean to speak of the 
Baron de Breteuil. What have I done to 
this man ? Of what does he accuse me ? 
Of being loved by the cardinal, and of 
not deserting him ; of seeking the truth, 
telling the truth, defending the truth ; of 
assisting suffering humanity, by my alms, 
my remedies, my counsels. Those are my 
crimes ! He cannot bear that a man in 
irons, a stranger under the bolts of the 
Bastille, in his power — his, the worthy 
minister of his horrible prison — should 
have raised his voice as I have done, to 
make him known, — him, and his principles, 
his agents, his creatures ! 

*Well then, resolve me of a doubt. 


The king has banished me from his king- 
dom, but he has not heard me. Is it thus 
ythat all lettres de cachet are put in force in 
France? If so it is, I pity you, and the 
more because this Baron de Breteuil will 
^ have this dangerous department. What ! 
your persons and property are at the mercy 
of this man ? By himself alone he can 
deceive the king with impunity ; acting on 
slanderous and never contradicted informa- 
tion he can issue and have put into execu- 
tion, by men like himself, rigorous orders 
which plunge the innocent man' into a cell, 
and deliver his house over to plunder ! 

* Are all state prisons like the Bastille ? 
No one can have any idea of the horrors 
of that place; cynical impudence, odious 
falsehood, sham pity, bitter irony, relent- 
less cruelty, injustice and death are seated 
there. A barbarous silence is the least of 
the crimes there committed. For six months 
I was within fifteen feet of my wife with- 


out knowing it. Others have been buried 
there for thirty years, are reputed dead, are 
unhappy in not being dead, having, like 
Mihon s damned souls, only so much light in 
their abyss as to perceive the impenetrable 
darkness that enwraps them. I said it in 
captivity, and I repeat it a free man : there 
is no crime but is amply expiated by six 
months in the Bastille. Some one asked 
me whether I should return to France 
supposing the prohibitions laid on me were 
removed.^ Assuredly, I replied, provided 
the Bastille became a public promenade ! 

' You have all that is needed for happi- 
ness, Frenchmen : a fertile soil, a mild 
climate, kindly hearts, charming gaiety, 
genius, graces all your own ; unequalled in 
the art of pleasing, unsurpassed in the other 
arts — all you want, my good friends, is one 
little thing : to be sure of lying in your own 
beds when you are irreproachable. 

*To labour for this happy revolution is a 


task worthy of your parlements. It is 

only difficult to feeble souls. 

^ *Yes, I declare to you, there will reign 

over you a prince who will achieve glory in 

the abolition of lettres de cachet, and the 

convocation of your States-General. He 

V will feel that the abuse of power is in the 

long-run destructive of power itself. He 

will not be satisfied with being the first of 

his ministers ; he will aim at being the first 

of Frenchmen.' 

These lines, dated 1786, are really aston- 
ishing. People speak sometimes of the 
predictions of Voltaire and Rousseau. ' We 
are approaching a condition of crisis and the 
age of revolutions,' wrote Rousseau. ' All 
that I see is sowing the seeds of a revolution 
which will inevitably come,' wrote Voltaire. 
Stray utterances culled from a mass of 
writings filling fifty and sixty volumes. All 
those who, setting up to teach mankind. 


find that mankind will not be led by their 
wishes, speak thus. Voltaire and Rousseau 
were men of letters who wrote admirably 
and expounded very interesting theories ; 
but what a vivid, concrete, precise intellect 
Cagliostro must have had, along with an 
intuitive perception of realities, to say to 
the French in 1786: 'Within a little, your 
States-General will be convoked, your 
Bastille will become a public promenade, 
and your lettres de cachet will be abolished/ 

And we may imagine the hubbub made in 
the streets of Paris by hawkers selling * the 
Letter to the French People,' running along 
with perspiring faces, repeating their cry, 
* Here s something new ! ' in the gardens 
and the caf^s. The public rushed to meet 
them. Their ' papers ' were snatched from 
their hands. 

Breteuil at once suffered in reputation. 
In vain he showed himself, in his ministerial 
office, to be one of the most generous 


spirits France has ever known, a noble 
and liberal-minded reformer ; in vain had 
» he, by his memorable circular of 1784, 
which had marvellous results all through 
France, virtually put an end to the regime 
of lettres de cachet ; in vain had he decided 
on the demolition of the Bastille, and from 
that time transformed it into a prison for 
ordinary criminals, closed the castle of 
Vincennes and the horrible tower of Caen, 
opened the gates of Bicetre to Latude, 
liberated at one stroke three-fourths of 
the prisoners incarcerated in the houses of 
correction ; in vain had he, by a general 
order of October 31, 1785, set free all 
those who were detained in virtue of a 
family lettre de cachet — and it is well 
known that imprisonments of this kind 
were very numerous ; in vain had he for- 
bidden the local magistrates to authorise 
any incarceration whatever save after a 
regular trial ; in vain did he draw up on 


October 6, 1787, his instructions on the 
treatment of madmen in the hospitals, and 
attempted to reaHse, with unequalled activity 
and energy, the new ideas of progress and 
liberty : Cagliostro dealt him a blow in 
public opinion from which he never re- 
covered. And thus later, when the hour 
of revolution struck, the pamphleteers and 
orators of the public gardens had no 
difficulty in persuading the people that 
Breteuil wanted to cut their throats. And 
the spread of the news that he had re- 
turned to power was the signal for the . 




Meanwhile Cagliostro had begun his 
famous action against the Marquis de 
Launey, Governor of the Bastille, and 
against the younger Chesnon, the Com- 
missary of the , f hatelet who had been 
ordered to search his house when he had 
been taken prisoner. On May 29, when 
Cagliostro had not yet been tried and was 
still in duress, Maitre Thilorier had issued a 
petition, *as well written,' observes Hardy 
the bookseller, *as the memorial previously 
so much acclaimed by the people,' and con- 
taining the ' striking demonstration ' of the 
following facts : (i) * By the fault of Com- 


missary Chesnon when making a search in 
the house of CagHostro, then forcing open 
the desks, opening all the cupboards and 
wardrobes, tearing and upsetting the goods 
of the count and his wife — hats, feathers, 
dresses, linen — throwing them about in 
promiscuous heaps, then neglecting to put 
everything under seal before leaving, more 
than 100,000 livres worth of goods had 
been ruined or left to be plundered : 
(2) the Marquis de Launey, Governor of 
the Bastille, had kept in his own possession, 
refusing to deliver them up to the plaintiff 
or his wife, diamonds and jewels of very 
considerable value.' 

CagHostro gives details. The underlings 
of the commissary seized on whatever took 
their fancy. * The police-officer had the 
audacity to take possession, in the presence 
of the plaintiff, of balms, drjugs, elixirs, to 
Mhe value of two hundred louis, without 
any opposition from the commissary. From 


my desk disappeared : ( i ) fifteen rolls of fifty 
pistoles each, sealed with my seal ; (2) 1233 
Venetian and Roman sequins ; (3) a roll 
of twenty - four Spanish double pistoles 
sealed with my seal ; (4) forty-seven bank- 
notes of 1000 livres each. In addition, 
there were papers of the greatest im- 
portance in my green portfolio. They are 
lost, and the resulting damage to me is 
more than 50,000 livres.' 

Not satisfied with these depredations, the 
commissary had executed his orders in the 
most vexatious manner, jostling and roughly 
handling the Count de Cagliostro and his 
wife in the street, to the scandal of the 
passers-by. On this ground an indemnity of 
50,000 livres was claimed. The total amount 
due by the government of the king or his 
agents was 200,000 livres, half of which 
Cagliostro waived, with characteristic great- 
ness of soul, for the purchase of bread for 
the poor prisoners at the Chatelet. 


His claim was presented on May 29, 
before the Diamond Necklace case was con- 
cluded. On June 21, Cagliostro, through 
his lawyers in Paris, sent from London to 
the Marquis de Launey and Chesnon a 
writ to appear at the Chatelet. 

Cagliostro's statement of claim ends with 
the following words : ' Doubtless I shall 
not be required to establish these facts by 
corroborative evidence. A citizen does not 
call two citizens every day to testify to the 
state of his cash-box. I should regard 
this precaution as not only useless, but 
insulting to the nation whose hospitality 
I am enjoying. Will it be said that the 
facts I assert are improbable? All those 
who know me can say whether, since I 
have been in France, I have openly spent 
less than 100,000 livres a year. Is it 
surprising, then, that a man who is not 
accustomed to count his money should 
have a years income in his possession? 



And I undertake to affirm on oath the 
accuracy of the statement I have already 
certified. This, without doubt, is all that 
justice has a right to demand. No one 
will imagine that for the sum of 100,000 
livres the Count de Cagliostro will con- 
sent to perjure himself in the eyes of all 

* Everybody was struck,' says Hardy, 
'with the clearness, precision, and energy 
of the count's plea. The document in 
which the suppliant's rights seemed as well 
established as ingeniously argued, met with 
the same reception from the public as former 

A second statement followed. * It pre- 
sents the facts,' says Hardy, *in a manner 
exactly calculated to stir men's minds and 
to interest citizens of all conditions.' Let 
us quote the peroration : — 

* Frenchmen, a nation truly generous, 
truly hospitable, I shall never forget either 


the touching interest you have taken in 
my fate, or the gentle tears your trans- 
ports have made me shed. Calumny and 
persecution have dogged my steps. All 
the torture that human heart could suffer, 
mine had already experienced. A single 
day of glory and happiness has recompensed 
me for all my long sufferings.' (Cagliostro 
is alluding to his triumph after being 
acquitted by the Parlement.) * Invited, 
desired, regretted everywhere, I had 
chosen for my habitation the land wherein 
you dwell ; I had done there all the 
good that my fortune and talents per- 
mitted me to do. Strasburg, Lyons, 
Paris, you all bear witness of me to the 
universe ! You will say if ever I offended 
the least of your inhabitants ! You will 
say if religion, good government, and law 
were not always sacred to me ; and yet 
the voice of my enemies has prevailed. 
They have deceived a king ; a letter of 


exile, and indefinite exile, is my reward. 
I am driven from France ! Dwellers in 
that happy country, people of amiable 
manners and tender hearts, receive the 
adieux of an unfortunate man worthy per- 
haps of your esteem and your regrets. 

* He has gone, but his heart remains 
with you. Whatever region he inhabits, 
believe that he will constantly show him- 
self the friend of the French name ; happy, 
if the woes he experienced in your country 
fall on himself alone ! ' 

* The public,' says Hardy, * devoured 
the Count de Cagliostro's memorial, which 
had been printed in sufficient quantities to 
satisfy their avidity.' 

Now it happened that at this time 

Latude, released from prison, was filling 

France with tales of his long martyrdom ; 

, and Linguet's pamphlet against the Bastille, 

' with that of Mirabeau against arbitrary 


orders, were creating a formidable stir. 
Nowadays we know what exaggerations 
and lies these writings contained ; but the 
populace in their unhappy state of dread 
eagerly swallowed them. The Marquis de 
Launey was governor of the Bastille, and 
the Commissary Chesnon was the officer 
responsible for carrying into effect the 
lettres de cachet. ' We remember,' said 
Chesnon in his answer to Cagliostro's 
accusations, * the terrible effect his memorial 
made among the public. It had the same 
effect throughout Europe. The retailing of 
it brought sedition nearer.' Cagliostro for 
his part, in a letter to the English people 
issued shortly afterwards, remarked with 
pride : * My indictment against Chesnon 
and de Launey appeared. It made on all 
minds an impression that still endures, and 
will always endure whatever may happen, 
because the truth is ineffaceable.' 




The king relegated the matter to the 
Council of Despatches, and appointed a 
commission consisting of La Michodiere, 
Abbe of Radonvilliers, Vidaud de Latour 
and Lambert, Councillors of State. The 
public raised new protests. Why not the 
Chatelet, to which Cagliostro had appealed ? 
Why not the regular tribunals? They 
were afraid of the light of day, and wanted 
closed doors ! Hardy explains this attitude : 
' The fact is that de Launey and Chesnon 
were absolutely identified with what was 
called the administration, an expression so 
important that woe betide any one who 
had to combat it ! ' 


A thousand rumours ran through the 
city. Some said that Cagliostro was re- 
turning to France to defend his cause, at 
the invitation of the king, who had offered 
him a safe-conduct. * No,' repUed others : 
'the Sieur de Cagliostro has taken the 
fixed determination not to trust to the fine 
declarations of the French ministry, of 
which he has once been the dupe in a 
way that he will remember all his life, 
however long that may be — and never- 
more to return to the bosom of a nation 
which he loves, but whose despotic govern- 
ment he abhors.' This party affirmed that 
the government, to hush the matter up, 
had restored the greater part of his goods 
and money ; and the former party that 
Cagliostro had just withdrawn his petition, 
* refusing to continue his case before the 
Council of Despatches, which he did not ' 
regard as a legal tribunal, but merely as a 
royal commission.' 


Launey and Chesnon filed dignified 
answers, showing the regularity of their pro- 
ceedings. The ofificial reports were duly 
drawn up, proving that all the customary 
formalities had been observed. Madame 
de Cagliostro had signed a receipt for all 
the effects she had deposited in the Bastille. 
Launey added : ' The Sieur de Cagliostro 
demands the restoration of a sum of 100,000 
livres found in his desk. Justice will pay 
the less credence to his statement, when 
it sees from the documents deposited in 
the Bastille, and written in his own hand- 
writing, that he was constantly occupied 
in imploring charity and generosity from 
his friends ; that he was continually levying 
contributions upon them, and that when he 
spoke of his desk, nothing was further from 
his thoughts than considerable sums and 
precious objects.' 

Chesnon spoke more strongly. * It is a 
sad thing for decency — I will say more, for 


the public security, that calumny is so easily 
diffused ; it is a sad thing that a mere 
signature, most often borrowed by a writer 
who would not dare acknowledge what he 
has written, should without difficulty be- 
come the passport of a false libel : copies 
of it are multiplied in proportion as these 
bold pens have spread malice, spite, and 
gall ; curiosity snatches at them, cupidity 
puts them up for sale, and the documents 
which the law only allows to be printed for 
the information of the judges have become 
for some time past a shameful object of 
trade and speculation. The blow falls 
unforeseen, and though the wound made 
by calumny will be healed, the scar will 

On July 14, 1787, the Committee of 
Councillors of State reported to the Council 
of Despatches in favour of the rejection of J 
Cagliostro's plea. Thus the governor of the 
Bastille and the Chdtelet commissary were 


completely exonerated. The scandal of the 
sale of documents during the course of the 
Necklace case had, however, been so great, 
and the torrent of calumnies and slanders 
spread by Madame de La Motte and Cagli- 
ostro so atrocious, that Vidaud de Latour, 
Director-General of Bookselling, along 
with the Keeper of the Seals, Hue de 
Miromesnil, determined to put vigorously 
in force by a decree of September 17, 
^1787, the prohibitions against selling 'any 
memoir, pleading, consultation, abstract, 
reply, or other documents drawn up in 
cases pending before the courts.' This 
decision was at once notified to the book- 
sellers and printers of Paris, by a circular 
from the syndics and aldermen in charge 
of the community. 

Those who in our time vilify with such 
ready eloquence the coercive measures 
adopted towards the press under the ancien 


rdgime do not know, or perhaps forget, in 
what conditions calumny and slander were 
then spread. 

In our time the press is its own con- 
servator and physician. Suppose some one 
were nowadays to put forth against the 
Government one of those innumerable 
calumnies which in the last year of the 
ancien rdgime were daily displayed in news- 
letters, gazettes, handbills, and various 
brochures and pamphlets ; an official agency 
would instantly circulate a correction among 
the journals, and next day all France would 
know what the Ministry declared to be the 
truth. But at the period with which we 
are dealing, the press agencies did not 
exist. Calumny displayed itself in all 
security, without fear of a contradiction, 
and certain of finding credence. On the 
Bastille and the prisoners, the lettres de 
cachet, the control of the finances, the king 
and queen, the morals of the court, the 


clergy, the nobility, and soon on the Parle- 
ment itself, on the heads of Parisian 
industry, on all that represented a tradi- 
tion or an authority, a respect or a belief, 
the most unlikely and absurd stories were 
disseminated ; they found attentive and 
hospitable ears, and mouths clever enough 
to carry them into the minds of the most 
intelligent, and these repeated them in 
their turn, strengthening them with their 
authority. This was the prelude to the 

'Calumny,' Don Bazile-^ was saying at 
this very moment, — 'there is no piece of 
dull malice, no horror, no absurd tale, but 
people get adopted if they take the trouble. 
First a gentle rumour, skimming the soil 
like a swallow before the storm. Pianissimo 
— the poisoned arrow murmurs and whizzes 
along, dropping its venom as it flies. 
Some mouth or other receives it, and then 

^ In Beaumarchais' Marriage of Figaro. 


piano, piano, cleverly drops it into your ear. 
The mischief is done; the seed springs up, 
the plant grows and spreads insidiously, 
and, rinforzando, it plays the very devil 
from mouth to mouth ; then, all at once, 
goodness knows how, you see calumny 
rearing its head, hissing, swelling itself 
out, getting bigger as you watch. It darts 
on, extends its flight, whirls round, envelops 
everything, drags men aft-er it, bursts out 
like thunder, and becomes a general outcry, 
a public crescendo^ a universal chorus of 
hate and proscription. Who in the world 
could resist it ? ' 

A Cagliostro attacked a minister or his 
agents : the sale of his precious productions 
almost provoked riots. Yet the king had, 
in the drawers of the lieutenant-general of 
police, all the facts necessary to undeceive 
the public. But how could he communicate 
them to the people } To-day we have in-__ 
numerable agencies besides the active pens 


of journalists ; in those days there was 
nothing, nothing but the confidence of the 
people in the king, their good sense, their 
attachment to the crown. A fine thing 
to be king ! 




If only Breteuil had been able to bring to 
the knowledge of the public the collection 
of documents made by commissary Fontaine, 
Cagliostro would doubtless not have found 
such ardent admirers. Fontaine had dis- 
covered — and the documents collected later 
on by the Inquisition at Rome confirmed 
his researches in all particulars — that the 
illustrious prophet, who had once con- 
versed with Christ beneath the shade of 
the olives, was born at Palermo on June 8, 
1 743. H is real name was Giuseppe Balsamo, ^ 
and he was the son of Pietro Balsamo and 
of Felice Braconieri his wife. His father, 
of Jewish extraction, was a bankrupt trades-^ 


man of Palermo, and died at the age of 
forty-five. His widowed mother had lived 
with her son Giuseppe and a daughter named 
Joanna Maria. In 1758, when fifteen 
years old, Giuseppe Balsamo had donned the 
costume of the Brothers of the Misericordia, 
whose mission it was to attend the sick; 
but he had remained only a short time in 
their order, picking up with them, however, 
the elements of pharmacy. 

In Sicily, no less than in France, the 
quest of treasure had been all the rage a 
century before. Young Balsamo became 
a treasure-seeker. He was a clever youth, 
and got a rich goldsmith of Palermo, one 
Marano, to believe that there lay in a 
grotto in the heart of the country an 
immense treasure, of which he would make 
him the owner. Marano gave him two 
hundred ounces of gold. A meeting at 
the spot was arranged. It was a fine 
moonlight night. Balsamo began his in- 


cantations. All at once a band of demons, 
clothed in deep black, appeared, fell on 
Marano, and gave him a sound thrashing. 
The good man was cudgelled and robbed. 
As ill-luck would have it, Balsamo could not 
keep this remarkable stroke of business to 
himself; the result was that the goldsmith 
learned how he had been tricked, and hired 
ruffians to assassinate the young magician, 
who in all haste fled to Calabria with two 
of his associates, a priest and a servant. 
But these two had so well learnt their part 
of spirit-rappers that, once in Calabria, they 
belaboured Balsamo and took Marano's 
money from him. And Balsamo, thus in 
his turn robbed and beaten, reached Rome 
in 1760 utterly destitute. ® \^> 

The wonders of the Eternal City acted "^ 
as an inspiration. He learnt drawing, and 
very soon acquired a surprising facility. 
His was a copyist's talent, for he had none 
of the gifts of the creative artist. He 



copied on old paper, with special inks, the 
etchings of Rembrandt, so cleverly that it 
was impossible to distinguish the original 
from the reproduction. He imitated hand- 
writings with amazing success, and attained 
a real perfection in the art of forging wills, 
which compelled him more than once to 
decamp hurriedly from the place he had 
. settled in. He made pen-drawings for great 
Roman lords, and for Cardinal Orsini, who 
honoured him with his protection; but his 
fortune remained only moderate. Love 
consoled him for his poverty. In Pellegrini 
Street, in the workshop of a batadore — that 
is, a smelter of copper for carriage orna- 
ments — he was touched by the sweet and 
tender grace of a girl named Lorenza 
Feliciani. Lorenza's eyes seemed like the 
transparent shadows of deep water, her 
waving tresses had the colour of ripe corn, 
and her lips were gleaming red, like cherries 
in June. 






She was just entering her fifteenth year. 

And there were meetings at the house 
of an old NeapoHtan woman hard by the 
smelter's workshop. Balsamo was wonder- 
fully eloquent, and the child drank in his 
words, gazing at him with her big limpid 
eyes. The father thought the girl too 
young ; but the child declared that she 
would marry Balsamo or die. Her father 
gave way, and the marriage was celebrated 
in April 1769, at the parish church of San 
Salvador in Campo. 

Balsamo's drawings did not provide a 
sufficient income for the young couple. A 
Sicilian marquis persuaded him to go to 
Germany, promising to obtain for him a 
captain s commission in the service of the 
King of Prussia, and to employ him in 
the meantime as his Italian secretary. 
Donna Lorenza, as we know from contem- 
porary evidence, was 'one of the beauties 
of Europe.' Her complexion was of un- 


surpassable purity, her expression was full 
of grace and sweetness. Balsamo and his 
wife went, then, to Loretto, thence to Berg 
in the state of Venice, where they got into 
hot water with the police in regard to some 
letters that the Sicilian marquis had forged 
in conjunction with Balsamo. 

Goethe tells the story of the incident. 
The forged documents were intended to 
be used in an important lawsuit concerning 
the succession to an estate in which the 
Sicilian was interested. Balsamo was flung 
into prison. Boiling with rage, the marquis 
hastened to the president of the court, in 
whose anteroom he found the advocate 
of the opposite party. He began a dis- 
cussion with him, seized him by the throat, 
knocked him down, and stamped on him. 
The noise brought the president from his 
study. He was a weak man, says Goethe, 
easily influenced by stronger minds. The 
advocate was reduced to a state of terror 


by the ill-treatment he had received. The 
upshot was that Balsamo was set at liberty, 
without any formalities, says Goethe, with- 
out even any mention being made of his 
liberation in the register of the jail. But 
it was necessary that he should seek other 
climes. After selling their effects, Balsamo 
and his wife arrived at Milan almost 
destitute, and proceeded to Genoa, whence 
they resolved to go and seek their fortune 
in Spain. 

Casanova met the young couple in 1770, 
as they passed through Aix in Provence. 
They were dressed as pilgrims. ' They 
could not but be people of high birth,' he 
says, 'since on arriving at the town they 
distributed alms widely. The female pil- 
grim was, it was said, charming, and quite 
young ; but she was tired out, and went to 
bed at once.' ^ 

Next day, Casanova solicited the honour 
of an audience. He was lodging in the 


same inn. *We found the female pilgrim 
seated in a chair, looking like a person 
exhausted with fatigue, and interesting by 
reason of her youth and beauty, singularly 
heightened by a touch of melancholy, and 
by a crucifix of yellow metal, six inches 
long, which she held in her hands. Her 
companion, who was arranging shells on his 
cloak of black baize, made no movement ; 
he appeared to tell us, by the looks he 
cast on his wife, that we were to attend to 
her alone.' 

*We are going on foot,' said Lorenza, 
Miving on charity, the better to obtain the 
mercy of God, whom I have so often 
offended. Though I ask only a sou in 
charity, people always give me pieces of 
silver and even gold, so that on arriving 
at a town we have to distribute to the poor 
all that remains to us, in order not to 
commit the sin of losing confidence in 
Eternal Providence.' 


* This young woman,' adds Casanova, ' far 
from flaunting the airs of libertinage, had all 
the outward bearing of virtue. Invited to 
write her name on a lottery ticket, she 
excused herself, saying that at Rome girls 
were not taught to write if they were to 
be bred up to virtue and honour. Every 
one laughed at this excuse but myself, and 
I felt certain then that she belonged to the 
lowest classes of the people.' 

They came at length to Barcelona, where 
Balsamo worked for the viceroy. But after 
four months they were obliged to leave the 
town * because the viceroy,' says Lorenza, 
* had taken a fancy for me, wanted to amuse 
himself with me, and when I repulsed him, 
conceived much ill-humour against us and 
wanted to vex us and to have me arrested, 
under the pretext that I was not married.' 
They went on to Madrid, where they spent 
the year 1771, Balsamo working for the 
Duke of Alva. They there made the 


acquaintance of another Sicilian who also 
played them tricks, which compelled them 
to depart for Lisbon ; but the young woman 
being unable to endure the climate of that 
city, they betook themselves to London 
in 1772. 

In London, Balsamo set up as a painter. 
He joined a certain Pergolesi, a designer 
of Compton Street, but was not long in 
falling out with him. He lodged in the 
same street as a turner. * He hadn't a 
crown of his own,' wrote a French officer 
who knew him in those days, 'got drunk 
constantly, beat his wife, and had the style 
and the manners of a clown.' 

At this period Balsamo made the acquaint- 
ance of a third Sicilian who went by the 
name of the 'Marquis of Vivona.' They 
were both received into the austere fellow- 
ship of a congregation of quakers. At the 
fine eyes of Lorenza, the austerity of one 
of these quakers melted away like the 


morning haze in the sunbeam. It was 
agreed between Balsamo and Vivona that 
Lorenza should arrange a meeting with 
the quaker. He appeared at the appointed 
hour, and the conversation grew so warm 
that the quaker had stripped off his hat 
and wig and coat — when Lorenza gave a 
scream, the door flew open, and the out- 
raged husband burst in, with Vivona as a 
witness : and the quaker had permission to 
retire, after signing a note for a hundred 
pounds sterling. 

With all his hundred pounds, Balsamo 
was not long after thrown into prison for 
debt. An English lord, whom Lorenza 
calls by the extraordinary name of Sir 
Dehels, procured his liberation, and took 
him and his wife to a country house of his 
near Canterbury, where Balsamo was to 
decorate the walls with frescoes. The 
frescoes were so original, and so amazing, 
that Balsamo thought it prudent to decamp, 


and went with his wife to Paris to seek a 
fortune. But before taking the road, he 
ennobled himself, becoming the Marquis 
of Balsamo. 

We are now at the close of the year 
1772. The journey to Paris has been 
related by the fair Lorenza herself. * On 
the passage to France,' she says, ' we made 
acquaintance with M. Duplessis, the steward 
of the Marquis de Prie, who showed us both 
all kinds of civilities. And when M. Bal- 
samo showed him some of his works, he 
appeared surprised. "You will make your 
fortune in Paris," he said. ** I am an advo- 
cate at the Parlement, and know many 
lords ; don't distress yourself, I '11 present 
you to the king. You won't have to go 
on your travels again. Your wife is very 
pleasant, very pretty, very charming. I '11 
do all I can to set you up in Paris." ' 

Arrived at Calais, Lorenza confessed to 
M. Duplessis, who was showing her more 


and more attention, that she would have 
to remain at the port, having no money to 
continue her journey. 

* Whereupon M. Duplessis made me all 
sorts of friendly promises, offering to drive 
me in his chaise to Paris. 

* "And my husband? " I said. 

'''Can't he wait a little at Calais? He 
will come on later.'" 

Lorenza, who knew the ropes, indignantly 
rejected this amazing proposition. At last 
it was agreed that she should join M. 
Duplessis in a postchaise he had hired, 
while her husband followed on horseback : 
fresh air and exercise could not fail to do 
him good. 

Delightful journey ! The Marquis of 
Balsamo admired nature in her autumn 
glory. The woods had put on their dress 
of russet brown. The birches and aspens 
had foliage of citron yellow, standing out 
vividly against the reddish brown of the 


sturdier oaks. On the horizon, where fine 
white transparent vapours rose thinly into 
the sky, the woods were lost in the autumn 
mist. But, snug in the rolling postchaise, 
the windows closed — for the air was already 
cold, and the young woman had a delicate 
throat — the donna Lorenza sat by M. 
Duplessis' side ; while Balsamo, now riding 
ahead, now behind or level with the 
carriage, galloped on in superb joyousness. 
He would sing snatches of Italian songs 
in his powerful voice, the sonorous notes 
swelling far into the echoless distance : and 
meanwhile, inside the closed carriage, M. 
Duplessis was whispering to Lorenza: 'You 
have stolen my heart away. I love you. 
You are young and beautiful ; your skin is 
sweet and exhales a penetrating fragrance. 
My happiness is in your keeping. I make 
myself responsible for your fortune. I 
will never abandon you. When we are 
in Paris, I will get a place for Balsamo. 


I will assure his happiness also. I will 
give him a hundred louis to take a trip 
to Rome.' 

* Thus tormented against my will,' con- 
tinues Lorenza, * I was several times tempted 
to stop and leave M. Duplessis, in order to 
escape the solicitations and even the actual 
violence he showed me in the carriage, as 
evidence of his love ; but knowing the 
irritable and fiery nature of my husband, 
I feared to inform him of what was going 
on by refusing to continue the journey, and 
we reached Paris in the morning.' 

The same day, Duplessis lodged his 
travelling companions in the mansion of 
the Marquise de Prie, and in the evening, 
with the consent of Balsamo, who went to 
bed tired out with his journey, he took his 
wife to the opera. 

* These attentions,' says Lorenza, * lasted 
for six weeks or two months, and I cannot 
refrain from declaring that the generous 


treatment of M. Duplessis, the tenderness 
he showed for me, his amorous expressions, 
his promises, made me conceive some kind- 
ness for him, all the more because my 
husband sometimes vexed me with his ill- 
temper and jealousy.' 

Duplessis frequently invited the Balsamos 
to dinner. One Sunday evening, after des- 
sert, Balsamo went off to pay a visit to one 
Mercuroz, an apothecary, leaving his wife 
and his host tete-a-tete \ 'because,' notes 
Lorenza, 'my husband, though jealous, had 
confidence in me.' 

Balsamo returned on the stroke of mid- 
night. He had spent a delightful evening 
with his friend the apothecary. The wine 
had been wine of Samos, which had put the 
apothecary into an excellent temper ; on 
this evening, no doubt, Balsamo had been 
the happiest of the three. 

* From that time,' continues Lorenza, 
' M. Duplessis showed me, every time he 


met me alone, that he was jealous of my 
husband. He gave me to understand that 
I must separate from him, which wives in 
France were at liberty to do.' 

The result was that apartments were 
taken for Lorenza by M. Duplessis with 
a woman named Theron, in the Rue Saint 
Honore. But this did not at all suit 
Balsamo's book. His confidence in his 
wife did not reconcile him to being deprived 
of the advantages which his authority as 
husband, going at the right moment on a 
visit to the apothecary, was capable of 
obtaining for him. In January 1773 ^^ 
laid an information before the lieutenant-"' 
general of police, and on February 2 the 
pretty Lorenza was ignominiously locked 
up at Sainte-Pelagie, along with many 
other women, all learning there in what way 
ladies in France were free to separate from 
their husbands. 

In 1775, Balsamo turns up at Naples, 


living in lordly style. His name is now 
the Marquis Pellegrino. It was in Pelle- 
grini Street, it will be remembered, that 
he had met Lorenza six years before. 
He had a valet named Laroca, ' who had 
made himself famous by his adventures, 
and though really a perruquier, had himself 
played the marquis at Turin.' The Marquis 
Pellegrino taught how to make gold, how 
to change hemp into silk, and how to 
solidify mercury. From Naples he went 
with his wife to Malta, whence he returned 
to Naples with the chevalier of Acquino. 
^ The year 1776 is the date of his second 
journey to London, where Balsamo took 
for the first time the name, since become 
^ so famous, of the Count de Cagliostro. 
This name was not absolutely imaginary. 
It was the name of one of his maternal 
great-uncles, originally of the little town of 
La Noava, eight leagues from Messina, 
who had been the factor of the prince of 


Villafranca. Cagliostro then set up as an 
astrologer, and claimed to have succeeded, 
with the assistance of the stars, in reducing 
to a certainty the chances of winning in 
lotteries. He had a lawsuit with a lady of 
Chelsea named Fry, who accused him of 
purloining a necklace, and got him shut up in 
the King's Bench prison. Necklaces were 
evidently fated to bring him misfortune. 
Cagliostro said that the lady had given 
him the jewellery in reward for the accuracy 
of his forecasts in lotteries, but the lady 
declared that she had intrusted it to him 
because he had said that he could turn 
the small diamonds into large ones. The 
astrologer was ordered to give back the 
necklace. After a stay of six months in 
London, he took his departure. He left 
in his rooms a large portmanteau, filled, 
according to his own statement, with costly 
possessions. It was empty. 

In 1779, Cagliostro made his fantastic 



journey to Russia and Poland. The 
details of his marvellous performances and 
swindling tricks assume such proportions 
that it is impossible to credit them. 

Early in 1 780 the prophet arrived at Stras- 
burg, clothed, as it were, in his mysterious 
reputation. He distributed drugs to the 
people who crowded into his house. At 
Strasburg, where he became acquainted 
with the Cardinal de Rohan, he remained 
three years and a half In the middle 
of 1783, he travelled to Rome, Naples, 
Florence, Antibes. On December i, 1783, 
he set up as a physician at Bordeaux. His 
cures were regarded as miraculous. The 
police were obliged to undertake the pro- 
tection of his house, to avoid disturbances 
among the crowds who thronged to it. On 
his consulting days, eight or ten soldiers 
v/ mounted guard at the door and on the 
staircase. On November i, 1784, he is at 
Lyons, busied there more especially with 


the organisation of masonic lodges. The 
mother lodge was founded at Lyons, and 
in a few months daughter lodges were 
swarming throughout France. On January 
30, 1785, Cagliostro arrived in Paris: the 
negotiations for the Necklace had com- 

Whence did he draw his resources at 
this period ? On the one hand, from his 
Egyptian lodges, organised almost every- 
where, each of which paid subscriptions 
contributing to his subsistence ; on the 
other hand, from the Cardinal de Rohan. . 

* I remember,' says a manuscript note 
signed Rheinbold, written on a copy of 
Cagliostro s Letter to the English People, 
once in the possession of Xavier Marmier — 

* I remember that before the Necklace case, 
when the Cardinal de Rohan made his last 
journey to Strasburg, he sent him by one 
of his people a bag of 1200 to 1800 livres, 
and that Cagliostro, to give a gratuity to 


the messenger, borrowed twelve livres from 
his host's cook, so destitute was he of 
money.' His wealth was thus more ap- 
parent than real. He cut a dash by a 
prodigious display of diamonds and jewels, 
— which were false. 




As we have seen, Cagliostro, exiled from 
France after his acquittal by the Parlement, 
embarked for England on June 16. 

While our hero was basking for the third 
time on the banks of Thames, Goethe, then 
travelling in Italy, came upon his family at 
Palermo. * A little before the end of my 
journey,' notes the great writer under date 
April 13, 1787, *an interesting adventure 
happened to me. During my stay at 
Palermo, I had often heard Cagliostro 
talked about at table, and stories told of 
him. The Palermites were all agreed on 
one point, to wit, that the mysterious 
personage was no other than a certain 


Giuseppe Balsamo, who, after more than 
one piece of scoundrelism, had been driven 
from the town. He was recognised in the 
published portraits. I learnt thus that a 
jurist of Palermo, at the request of the 
French Ministry, had made inquiries into 
the origin of this man, who had had the 
audacity, in the course of a grave and 
momentous trial, to retail the most absurd 
fables in the tace of all France — one may 
say, of the whole world. 

' I asked to be introduced to the man of 
law, and was presented to him. He showed 
me the genealogical tree, drawn out by him, 
of the family to which Cagliostro belonged, 
and the notes and documents which had 
assisted him to compile a memoir, which he 
had just sent to France.' After perusing 
these, Goethe expressed the desire to be 
presented to Balsamo's mother and sister, 
who were living in the town. ' That will 
be difficult,' replied the lawyer, 'for they 


are poor people and live a very retired 
life ; a visitor would scare them.' But 
Goethe insisted, and at last the lawyer 
offered the assistance of his secretary, who 
knew the family personally. Goethe saw 
the secretary, and it was arranged that the 
visitor should pass as an Englishman 
bringing from London, where Cagliostro 
had taken refuge, news of him to his family. 
The house inhabited by the Balsamos was 
hidden away in the corner of an alley, not 
far from the principal street, il Casaro, 
Goethe, accompanied by the secretary, 
climbed a wretched staircase, which led 
straight into the kitchen. A woman of 
middle height, apparently very robust, 
broad-chested without being stout, was 
washing dishes. She was neatly dressed, 
and, when she perceived her visitors, raised 
the corner of her apron so as to conceal 
its dirty side. Her eyes beamed a glad 
welcome, and addressing the secretary, she 


said, * Signer Giovanni, do you bring good 
news ? Have you succeeded ? ' She 
alluded to some trifling business in which 
she was interested, and which the secretary 
had undertaken to manage for her. 

* I haven't yet succeeded,' was the reply, 
* but here is a friend of your brother's, who 
can tell you how he is just now.' 

' You know my brother ? ' she asked, 
turning to Goethe. 

'All Europe knows him,' replied the 
visitor, 'and no doubt you will be pleased 
to hear that he is for the present in perfect 
safety, and his health is excellent.' 

'Come in,' she said, 'I will be with you 

The visitors went into a large and lofty 
room, which seemed to serve as lodging for 
the entire family. There was one window. 
The walls, still bearing traces of the paint 
that formerly covered them, were adorned 
with a number of religious pictures, portraits 


of saints, all black in their gilt frames. 
Two large curtainless beds stood on one side; 
opposite them, a small brown cupboard 
like a writing-desk. The straw-chairs 
had had their backs gilded, and the gilt 
still shone here and there. The flooring 
had given way in several places. But 
everything was spotlessly clean. The 
visitors approached the family grouped 
around the window on the further side of 
the room. 

While the secretary was bawling into the 
ear of Cagliostro's old mother, who was very 
deaf, an explanation of the stranger's visit, 
Goethe was taking stock of the persons and 
things around him. A girl of sixteen, 
comely, but marked with smallpox, was 
leaning at the window ; near her a lad was 
stooping, his face not less pitted. On the 
other side of the window, extended on a 
long chair, was a person who seemed over- 
come with languor. 


*We sat down,' says Goethe. 'The old 
woman addressed a few questions to me 
which I got my companion to translate, for 
she expressed herself in the pure Sicilian 
dialect. While she was speaking, I watched 
the old woman with pleasure. She was of 
middle height, but well formed. Her 
features were regular, and age had respected 
their pure and firm outlines. Her expression 
had that serenity which is usually found in 
deaf people. The tone of her voice was 
low and pleasant.' Goethe told her that her 
son had just been acquitted by the French 
courts, and was then in England, where he 
had been well received. ' Her replies were 
exclamations of joy, mingled with pious 
words that were very touching. And as 
she then spoke more slowly, I could almost 
understand her.' Meanwhile her daughter, 
Cagliostro's sister, the woman they had 
found washing the dishes, had re-entered. 
She sat down beside the secretary, getting 


him to repeat what the stranger said. She 
had put on a clean apron, and carefully 
arranged her hair in a net. She seemed of 
a happy disposition, lively, and in robust 
health. I should take her age to be forty. 
Her blue and cheerful eyes gave a quick 
wide-awake glance around, without the 
least perceptible shade of mistrust. Seated, 
she appeared taller than when she was 
standing. She sat on her chair, her body 
bent slightly forward, and her hands on her 
knees. ' She closely resembled Cagliostro,' 
adds Goethe, 'as he is represented in the 
engravings that are so common. She 
questioned me on my plans for making 
excursions in Sicily, and told me that I 
must certainly return to Palermo to join 
them in the festival of St. Rosalia.' 

Goethe resumed his conversation with 
the mother, while the daughter talked to the 
secretary. The latter said that her brother 
still owed her for purchases she had made 


for him before he left Palermo. As he was 
now in possession of such great treasure, he 
must be able to return the money ; and she 
asked the stranger to take charge of a letter 
for him. For her situation was precarious. 
She was a widow with three children ; one 
daughter was being brought up in a con- 
vent, another daughter was at home, and a 
son was at present at school. She had her 
mother also with her, and was also saddled 
with the poor sick woman lying on the long 
chair. And in spite of all her industry, she 
found it very difficult to meet such obliga- 
tions. * To be sure,' she said in conclusion, 
' God will not let my efforts go unrewarded, 
but the burden is too heavy, and I have 
borne it too long.' 

The young people took part in the con- 
versation, which had become animated. 
Goethe heard the old woman ask her 
daughter : ' Does he follow our holy 
religion ? ' And the younger woman 


tactfully replied : ' The stranger seems well 
disposed to us, and it would hardly be polite 
to ask him that question so soon.' 

And when the good people learnt that 
Goethe was soon to leave Palermo, they 
became pressing in their entreaties that he 
would return and spend with them the feast 
of St. Rosalia, the patron saint of the town. 
He would see in Palermo on that day 
unequalled splendours. The visitor took 
leave, with the promise to come back next 
day for the letter which Cagliostro's sister 
was to write to her brother. * And I came 
away,' says Goethe, 'profoundly impressed 
with this pious and quiet family.' 

Next day, after dinner, he returned alone. 
His appearance provoked surprise. The 
letter was not yet finished. * Besides,' 
added the kindly folk, * several of our 
relatives wish to make your acquaintance.' 
But Goethe assured them that he could not 
defer his departure for more than one day. 


At this moment entered the son, whom the 
visitors had not seen on the former occasion. 
He held in his hand the letter for Cagliostro, 
which he had just fetched from the public 
scribe, whom it was the custom of the 
country to employ in such matters. The 
lad had a quiet manner, marked with 
reserve and melancholy. He spoke of his 
uncle, his wealth, his large expenditure, 
adding sadly : * Why does he desert his 
family thus ? It would be our greatest joy 
to see him back for a little at Palermo, 
showing some interest in us. And people 
say that he everywhere disowns us, posing 
as a lord of illustrious birth.' 

The girl came in. She had lost the 
timidity of the previous evening, spoke of 
her uncle, gave the visitor many messages 
for him, and pressed Goethe to return to 
Palermo for the festival of St. Rosalia. 
The mother was as pressing as her children. 
* Though it is not the proper thing for me 


to entertain strange men,' she said, 'since 
I have a daughter growing up and we 
have good reasons for guarding against 
scandal as well as actual peril, I must 
say that you will always be very wel- 
come among us when you return to the 

* Yes, indeed ! ' cried the young people : 
* we will take Signor everywhere during the 
festival, and show him everything. We '11 
sit in the best places for seeing and admir- 
ing the procession. How delighted Signor 
will be when he sees the great car, and 
especially the illuminations ! ' 

Meanwhile the old woman had finished 
reading the letter for Cagliostro. She 
handed it to Goethe, saying : ' Tell my son 
how glad I was to have news of him ; tell 
him that I press him to my heart ' — and the 
good creature extended her arms and folded 
them across her bosom. * Every day I 
pray God and the Blessed Virgin for him. 


I send my blessing to him and his wife, and 
have only one desire — to see him once more 
before my death, with these eyes which 
have shed so many tears for him.' 

In reporting these words Goethe remarks 
that they were rendered doubly impressive 
by the peculiar grace of the Italian tongue 
and the vivacity of the Sicilian dialect. 
* And I left these good folk,' he adds, 'with 
a full heart. All hands were stretched 
towards me, and as I went down the stairs, 
the children rushed to the balcony running 
along in front of the window on the street. 
Thence they still called out to me, with 
joyous salutations, not to forget to come 
back. I reached the corner of the street, 
and for the last time saw them waving their 
hands to me.' 

Goethe, who never saw the Balsamo 
family again, had an idea of sending them, 
before he left Palermo, the money owed by 
Cagliostro, justifying the gift by alleging 


that the debtor would doubtless reimburse 
him on his return to London. But on ex- 
amining his purse, he found that his funds 
were running low; and remembering that he 
had arranged to penetrate into the interior 
of Sicily, where the communications were 
very difficult, he was afraid of leaving him- 
self penniless. 

One wonders whether the poor good 
people, who put so much faith in the fortune 
of their absent relative, ever learnt the 
sequel of his adventures. Cagliostro fled 
from London in April 1787, driven away by 
his scandalous squabbles with the Courrier 
de l' Europe, which was published there. 
We can trace him to Basle, to Bienne in 
Switzerland, where he lived on a pension 
given him by one Sarrazin ; thence to 
Aix in Savoy, Turin, Genoa, Verona, and 
finally to Rome, where he was arrested on 
December 27, 1789, by the sbirri of the J 
Holy Office. He had just addressed a 



petition to the National Assembly asking to 
be allowed to return to France. Thrown 
Hnto the fortress of St. Angelo, he was tried 
as a freemason and condemned to death. 
His penalty was commuted by the Pope to 
perpetual imprisonment. While his wife, 
the pretty Donna Lorenza, was shut up in 
the convent of St. Apollinia, he himself was 
incarcerated in the castle of Leone in the 
duchy of Urbino, where he died on October 

U^' ^795- 

Such an end makes us indulgent towards 
his extravagances and even his impostures. 
It is melancholy to think of these priests 
throwing a man into a lifelong dungeon 
simply because his beliefs differed from 

At the same period in France, women, 
children, and old people were guillotined, 
though no crime could be charged against 

\ them except the most beautiful of virtues, 
loyalty to their sentiments. Priests in Rome, 


\ Jacobins in Paris, were men of the same 
stamp. History unites them in one common 

And CagHostro's end may be regretted, 
not merely in the name of tolerance and 
freedom, our supreme faith, but even for 
the sake of the Revolution. The role of 
revolutionary alchemist would have been 
wonderfully interesting. At that period, 
when a man was only valued in France 
according to his eloquence or his antics, 
Cagliostro would have stood forth in the 
front rank, and his buffooneries would have 
formed pleasant interludes in the sombre 
and bloody monotony of crimes and horrors. 




He belonged to an old burgher family of 
Paris, of some mark in their day, one of the 
streets being named after them in 1538 and 
retaining the name to the present time. 
His great-grandfather had been one of 
the capable architects of the seventeenth 
century, and academician in 1718. His 
grandfather, Jean Baptiste Augustin, who 
constructed the sewers from Menilmontant 
to the Seine, organised the fetes in honour 
of Louis XV. in 1744, and was elected a 
member of the Academy of Architecture. 
This man's son, another Jean Baptiste, 
had no inclination for the arts, and it 
was he who was the father of the Jean 


Baptiste Toussaint who espoused Nicole 

Toussaint was born on November 6, 
1 76 1, in the parish of St. Cosmo, to Jean 
Baptiste de Beausire, royal lieutenant at the 
Salthouse, and Jeanne F61icit6 Lamoureux 
de La Genetiere. In 1762 he unhappily lost 
his father, who was then residing in the 
Rue des Francs- Bourgeois ; and he lost his 
mother in 1771. Bereft of both parents by 
the age of ten, he was placed by his uncle 
and guardian, M. Bordenave, professor at 
the Royal Academy of Surgery and member 
of the Academy of Sciences, at the College 
de Justice, whence he passed to the College 
de la Marche on July 11, 1772. Beausire 
had very little taste for study, and turned 
his classrooms into a bear-garden. On 
March 3, 1775, he was locked up at Saint- 
Lazare for stealing sixty livres from his 
teacher's drawer. After a confinement of 
nearly two years he was sent back to the 


College de la Marche. There he was 
supposed to study physics and law, to fit 
him for a procurator s place at the Chatelet ; 
but on June 27, 1777, the Abbe Desfeux, 
director of the college, announced that on 
the preceding Sunday, between ten and 
eleven in the morning, young Beausire had 
absconded, in company with his cousin La 
Genetiere, and taken refuge within the 
precincts of the Temple. He had carried 
off the greater part of his effects, not to 
mention the watch of one of his companions. 
When he had come to his last sou, the 
young fellow returned like the prodigal son 
to his guardian, who took him back to the 
College de la Marche ; but the authorities 
refused to receive him again. 

Bordenave, tired of the misconduct of his 
ward and hopeless of any improvement, 
asked to be relieved of his office. He 
became 'honorary guardian,' the active 
guardianship being intrusted to one Michel 


Francois Bluteau, a citizen of Paris, whose 
specialty was to undertake such duties for 
a consideration. 

We are now at the year 1780. Beausire 
was then placed with a certain Genevois, 
for a course of training for the military pro- 
fession. A family meeting fixed his allow- 
ance at 4800 livres. The fortune left by 
his father was considerable for that time, 
and Beausire himself had at this date an 
income of nearly 30,000 livres. But in 
May 1 78 1, the debts he had contracted 
amounted to as much as 95,000 francs. He 
assumed the title of count or chevalier, posed 
as a gentleman of the Prince of Conde's 
household, and swindled the tradesmen who 
supplied him with goods and jewels. But 
as Beausire was a very odd, amusing, 
pleasant fellow, a relative named Madame 
Destouches gave him a home, and began 
to take steps to secure his entrance as a 
volunteer into the navy. But the future 


sailor soon had enough of the good lady, 
and returned to his quarters in the Temple. 
He had a furnished lodging at the 'Two 
Crowns.' To obtain money for his neces- 
sities, he had put most of his clothes in 
pawn, and ordered new ones for which he 
omitted to pay. He incurred debts of honour 
also, which obtained for him the honour of 
being arrested by order of the Marshals 
of France and incarcerated in the prisons 
of the Abbaye Saint-Germain. We shall 
see what an incredible number of houses 
of detention Beausire went through in the 
course of his career. In comparison with 
him, Latude was a mere amateur. He was 
released after four months in jail, his family 
having paid 668 livres for him. Ten days 
had barely elapsed when he again took his 
watch to the pawnshop, engaged a servant, 
borrowed his watch under the pretext that 
his own was mending, and carried that 
also to the pawnbroker's. 


On the Quai Pelletier there was a jeweller 
named Bourdillat, who had some gold rings 
and earrings that took Beausire's fancy. 

' Ah, Master Bourdillat, if you only knew 
how charming Manon is ! ' 

* I quite believe you, Monsieur le Cheva- 

But as the chevalier had no money, he 
gave a bill payable on February i. On 
January 24 he came back, with one of the 
earrings broken, and as Manon was not 
only charming but ' deucedly impatient ' — 

' Oh, they are all like that. Monsieur le 
Chevalier ! ' 

So Beausire selected another pair of ear- 
rings, worth about fifty-eight livres, not 
paying for them, however, and came back 
in a few days for the one that had been 
repaired. Still he did not pay, and the 
bill being dishonoured on February i, 
Bourdillat prosecuted him for swindling. 

In March 1782, Beausire went to live 


at Senlls with his brother-in-law, Maitre 
Leclerc-Duport, who had succeeded Bor- 
denave as honorary guardian. ' At the 
end of three months/ wrote Duport to the 
Provost of Paris, 'after having borrowed 
right and left and got jewellery from trades- 
men on credit, Beausire absconded on July 
1 5, taking with him everything he could lay 
hands on that could be turned into money 
in the capital.' 

Fresh debts of honour brought Beausire 
again before the marshals, who sent him 
back to the Abbaye. At this period, 1783, 
the amount of his debts, speaking only of 
those which came to the knowledge of his 
family, had risen to 250,000 francs. Set 
at liberty after a detention of six months, 
he conceived the idea of procuring money 
by enlisting with three different recruiting 
officers, and drawing his bounty in advance. 
Then the Prince de Poix claimed him for his 
regiment of dragoons. Things began to look 


serious. Maitre de Senneville, a Parlement 
advocate, into whose hands his case was 
placed by his family, succeeded in obtaining 
an annulment, but before long, disgusted in 
his turn, he threw up the case. To free 
Beausire from his responsibilities to the 
other two recruiting officers, his family had 
him interned by lettre de cachet in the famous 
madhouse at Picpus, where he was joined 
a little later by Saint-Just. 

In order to save what was left of his patri- 
mony, half of which had been squandered in 
a few years, his relatives had him declared 
non compos mentis by the Chatelet on May 
12, 1786, and an allowance of 4000 livres 
was settled on him. Beausire vehemently 
opposed this decree, and pursued with 
special hatred the architect Louis Moreau, 
the relative who had shown most severity 
towards him in the family councils. 

Meanwhile Toussaint had met the charm- 
ing little Nicole Leguay. The young people 


were equally impecunious, but their debts 
added together gave an imposing figure. 
The Necklace affair came to light. From the 
Bastille, Madame de La Motte succeeded in 
warning her young friend, whom she called 
the Baronne d'Oliva. The lovers betook 
themselves arm-in-arm to Brussels, where 
they hoped to live cheaper than in Paris. 

On October 17, 1785, Nicole and her 
lover were arrested in Brussels, and sent to 
the Bastille on November 2. On March 11, 
1786, Beausire was liberated, but only to be 
consigned to the madhouse in accordance 
with the decree of the court. He was finally 
released in the month of August following. 

And now he was married, and the father of 
a fine baby in whom all France was inter- 
ested. Alas ! marriage spelt good-bye to 
love. Is that the rule? On January 19, 
1789, Louis Joron, king's counsellor, com- 
missary of the Chatelet, heard a sad story. 
Marie Nicole Leguay, wife of Jean Baptiste 


Of TMf 




Toussaint de Beausire, esquire, related to 
him how, 'having come to know the said 
Beausire, he had become absolute master 
of her actions and will, as well as of her 
fortune and goods, so that there resulted a 
male child who was still living/ Nicole 
wept copiously. * I was barely married 
before I experienced shocking treatment 
at the hands of my husband. He ill-used 
me, and beat me several times. He is 
leading the most scandalous life, passing 
his nights in gambling hells, and going 
with other women. And all this time I 
am confined to the house, where I am in 
absolute want. We live in the same house, 
but lodge separately — he in a fine front room, 
I in a poky little box behind. He rarely 
has his meals at home, and when he does, 
eats in another room. So far from giving 
me money to buy things, he has pawned 
all my linen and goods and jewellery. And 
now he wants me to go away, to retire into 


a convent, but will not give me the means 
of subsistence. So, beside myself, I ran 
away last Monday, taking the few things 
for my personal use that were left, and 
went to the Hotel Montpensier at the Palais 
Royal, where I had already stayed with him 
before our marriage, when he loved me. 
I 've come to sue my husband, so that the 
lieutenant-general of police, after appoint- 
ing a convent to which I may retire, may 
compel him to give me an allowance that 
will enable me to live with my child.' 

Nicole Leguay accordingly entered a 
convent. But there she fell into a decline. 
Country air was prescribed. She was taken 
to Fontenay-sous-Bois ; but her constitu- 
tion was ruined. She died on June 24, 
1789, and was buried in the cemetery of 

' She was very beautiful,' said Madame 
de La Motte, 'and very good, and very 
stupid.' And thus her fate is explained. 


But we are waxing sentimental while 
already the revolutionary cannon are 

Beausire was among the conquerors of V 
the Bastille. We know how those honour- 
able citizens who, for the most part, 
had had the modesty after the victory to 
run away and hide, became astonishingly 
numerous a few days later, when it was 
recognised that their deeds were brilliant 
achievements. This heroism was rewarded, 
in Beausire's case, by his selection to 
command the battalion of the district of 
the fathers of Nazareth. He gave his men 
a flag embroidered with a two-headed 
hydra crushed by an athlete, with the 
motto, proceeding from the gaping beak 
of a cock : ^ He is scotched at last ! ' He 
also gave uniforms to three needy citizens. 
On October 5 he marched on Versailles. 
On June 21, 1791, 'the day of the tyrant's 
return,' he exclaims, he was constantly ~ 


under arms. The ardour he displayed on 
that memorable day was such that he caught 
a cold in his chest, which, checking the course 
of his exploits, compelled him to retire to the 
country. He settled at Choisy-on- Seine, 
where he married, on October 6, 1791, one 
Adelaide Duport, daughter of a hat-maker. 
Unable to display his military valour, 
Beausire nevertheless cherished an un- 
diminished ardour in the cause of liberty. 
At the time of the elections for the National 
Convention, he drew up a circular in favour 
of the right candidates. 

Citizens ! 

The country is in danger 1 Her safety depends 
on us. Let us unite, and may our union be 
an impenetrable rampart against faction and 
intrigue ! Despotism was about to enslave us 
anew. The good citizens have shown them- 
selves, and the machinations of our tyrants are 
about to be unveiled. We were within an inch 
of ruin; court cabals and fanaticism had hollowed 
out the abyss. But for the energy and patriotism 


of our brethren we should have been dashed over. 
The choice is between freedom and slavery, and 
on the choice you will make in your primary 
assemblies depends the fate of the empire. Let 
us rally as one man. Let personal interest be 
silent; let selfishness, that scourge of humanity, 
be annihilated ! 

This eloquence continues for a good 
space yet. Beausire had it stuck on a 
huge placard, and posted at his expense, 
not merely in his own commune, but in all 
the communes adjacent. 

Will it surprise us to find that his fellow- 
citizens, filled with admiration, elected him 
procurator of the commune of Choisy-on- 
Seine? He did great things in his office : 
saw to the storing of grain ; forced the 
farmers of the district, in the name of 
liberty, to thrash their corn, then bring 
it to market at Choisy ; and brought to 
their senses the charcoal-burners who w^ere 
awaiting a more favourable opportunity for 
selling their merchandise. He started public 



assemblies, and inaugurated their sittings 
with a speech which has been preserved. 

Citizens ! 

This is henceforth to be the place of your 
meetings. It was one of the appanages of 
the despots. It is destined to the reunion of 
several neighbouring communes, and you will 
all make one whole. Here men will come to 
drink in the maxims of liberty, which alone can 
assure the happiness of ourselves and our children. 
They will find in us friends and brothers ; always 
watchful, incessantly attentive to the public good ! 
If some one strayed from the inestimable principles 
of our holy revolution, your wise and paternal 
counsels would bring him back to the right path. 
Continue your labours, citizens, propagate the 
irrevocable and fundamental principles of our 
republic. Have an eye to the malevolent of 
every class, strengthen public spirit. The esteem 
of all good citizens will be the sweet recompense 
due to your zeal and devotion in the cause of 
liberty ! 

These brave words did not fall on deaf 
ears. On the third day of the second de- 
cade of Brumaire, in the Year ii. of the 


French Republic one and indivisible, the 
day of the festival of the Jerusalem Arti- 
choke (November 3, 1793), some of the 
* friends and brothers, always watchful, 
incessantly attentive to the public good,' as 
Beausire said, * moved by the solicitude for 
the public good which made them direct 
an attentive eye on all that might con- 
tribute to foster and awaken republican 
ardour in the youth of France,' as they 
said themselves, denounced the Sieur 
Beausire to the Committee of Public Safety 
' as a quondam noble, formerly attached 
to the quondam Comte d'Artois.' 

No time was wasted. On the margin of 
the information are the words * To be 
arrested.' On November 5, 1793, the pro- 
curator of the Commune of Choisy-on-Seine 
lay in the prison of the Luxembourg. 
Next day the Commune of Choisy, sum- 
moned by the sound of the bell, sent a 
deputation to the committee to demand the 


release of their procurator, *an honourable 
man and a strong republican.' But what 
did that matter ? The deputation of twelve 
members, on arriving, could not have 
an audience of the committee at their 
morning sitting. Nine of them, retiring 
to the terrace of the Feuillants to dine and 
wait for the resumption of the sitting, 
were surrounded by an armed force and 
taken to the guard-house of the Conven- 
tion. At eleven o'clock, five of them were 
set at liberty, but the other four were kept 
under lock and key. Their names were 
Barier, Nourrit, Joanis, and Chevillard. 
They were put through an interrogation. 

' We have come to Paris to ask for the 
liberty of Citizen Beausire.' 

Before the administrators of the police 
department. Citizen Deschamps, aide-de- 
camp to the Paris Militia, and Citizen 
Didier, juror on the revolutionary tribunal, 
declared : ' Barier, a notary of Choisy, is a 


member of the quondam club of the Sainte- 
Chapelle ; Nourrit, a painter of Choisy, 
highly approved the massacre of the 
Champ de Mars, and there exists against 
him an information to the People's Society ; 
Joanis, commandant of the National Guards, 
has deliberately slandered the great patriots 
Marat and Robespierre ; Chevillard, a 
coffee-house keeper, has withdrawn from the 
People's Society because that had ap- 
proved the condemnation of the tyrant, 
telling several of the members that they 
were villains.' Poor Beausire's case was 
worse than before. 

The four delegates were kept locked up 
until January 1794, and the inhabitants of 
Choisy-on- Seine were careful to send no 
more deputations. 

To win his release Beausire thought that 
the best course was to denounce those of 
his companions in captivity who were im- 
prudent enough to let fall compromising 


words. This he did proudly, writing on 
July 30, 1794: *I do not pine for liberty, 
since I have been able, even in my prison, 
to be useful to the commonwealth by re- 
vealing the plots that were in weaving 
there.' And as the Committee of Public 
Safety might consider it advisable to leave 
him in a position where he could do them 
such good service, he hastened to add : 
* But I believe that I should be still more 
useful to my fellow-citizens elsewhere than 
here, and that it is which makes me desire 
the more ardently to be restored to my 

As this appeal met with no response, the 
prisoner returned to the charge on August 
18 : * In the course of Ventose, I was lucky 
enough to discover the plots being hatched 
in prison by the Grammonts, the Dillons, 
and others. I denounced them ; the traitors 
were punished, and I still remain in irons.' 

Beausire found means in these circum- 


stances to pay off an old score against that 
Louis Moreau who, as we have seen, did 
his best to curb his youthful follies. He 
included him in his denunciations, and 
brought him to the guillotine. * I call the 
Supreme Being to witness,' wrote Moreau 
to the revolutionary tribunal on July 9, 1 794, 
* that no scheme whatever has come to my 
knowledge for laying sacrilegious hands on 
the representatives of the people. The 
witnesses can bring no evidence, nor even 
probabilities, against me. Citizen Beau- 
sire, my near relative, who spent a repre- 
hensible youth, found me against him in 
our family councils. He owes the pre- 
servation of a part of his fortune to a 
decree of the courts we obtained against 
him. On that account he has conceived 
against me a hatred which would render 
him culpable, and the effect of which would 
to-day be fatal, if the equity of the jurors 
and of the tribunal, on whose judgment my 


life depends, did not rectify it.' The poet 
Ducis, ' of the quondam French Academy,' 
intervened in his favour. * Citizen Moreau.' 
he said, ' has always been submissive to 
the laws. He gave 30,000 livres towards 
the war against the brigands of La 
Vendee. He is married, and the father 
of a family. His wife and children are 
in tears.' It was labour lost. Moreau 
was condemned and executed, on the 
very day when he wrote the defence we 
have just read. He was an architect of 
great merit, who had early in his career 
obtained the diploma of the Ecole de 
Rome, was admitted to the Academy in 
1762, became director of the city fabrics 
in 1763, and architect to the king in 
1783. It was he who designed the facade 
of the Palais Royal on the Rue Saint- 

We are reminded of a very similar 
case. While he was detained at Picpus, 


Beausire had perhaps met there the 
great Saint-Just. Having attained power 
at this very time, Saint- Just had the 
pleasure of satisfying his rancour in the 
same way. One of his victims, Armand 
Brunet, wrote boldly on August 9, 1794, 
to the president of the National Con- 
vention — 

Citizen President, 

A prisoner of six months' duration, I venture 
to bring the following fact to your notice : — 

Saint-Just, as bad a son as he is a citizen, had 
robbed his mother of her most valuable posses- 
sions. He had reviled and ill-treated her. I 
was asked by this hapless mother to obtain the 
imprisonment of her unnatural son, and he was 
confined at Picpus by order of de Crosne, then 
lieutenant-general of police. The hatred Saint- 
Just swore to me makes me regard him as the 
author of my arrest, my conscience being ab- 
solutely void of reproach. 

Brunet was not mistaken. Saint-Just, 
to complete his work, had also brought the 


excellent Thiroux de Crosne to the guillo- 
tine, who during his term of office as chief 
of police had perhaps had reason to reproach 
himself with being somewhat foolish, but 
certainly with being too kind. 

Meanwhile Beausire, in spite of his zeal 
— and perhaps because his services in 
prison were so well appreciated — far from 
obtaining his liberty, was transferred to 
Sainte-Pdagie on August 12, to Plessis on 
November 8, to the Hospice of the Arch- 
bishopric on December 6, 1794, whence 
he was brought before the revolutionary 
tribunal on April 3, 1795. He was ac- 

Beausire died many years later, on 
February 3, 18 18, being then controller of 
taxes of Pas-de-Calais. He had become 
a devoted servant of the Empire, and re- 
tained his office at the Restoration. By his 
second wife, Adelaide Duport, he left six 


In his excellent book, Le Marquis de La 
Rouerie, M. G. Lenotre says : * Secondary 
characters like Lalligand and Chevetel hold 
a more important place in the story of the 
Terror than most people think. The Re- 
volution may be compared to a picture that 
needs new canvas. It has been so often 
painted, and painted again. To find what 
lies beneath, it must be turned over, the 
canvas must be picked off thread by thread, 
to show the original coat of colour. One 
might hold forth for a thousand years on 
the political ideas of Robespierre — who had 
none — on the legality of the trial of the 
king, on the official causes of the fall of the 
Girondins, without knowing the Revolu- 
tion one whit better. You have to plunge 
into the depths. What is to be found there 
is worth bringing to the light.' 

A slight place will perhaps be conceded 
to Beausire among the Lalligands and 
Chdvetels, whose personalities M. Lenotre 


has brought to life again. Toussaint 
de Beausire appears to have been the 
average type of revolutionary. Others 
had a more brilliant fate : Mirabeau, be- 
cause he spoke better ; Carnot, because he 
was more intelligent ; Saint-Just, because 
he was a still greater hypocrite ; Robes- 
pierre, because he was clever at striking 
attitudes which at a distance produced a 
certain effect ; but on examining them more 
closely you will find in each of them a 
Toussaint de Beausire. The value of the 
coin is greater, to be sure ; the stamp is 

And with this observation, which will not 
perhaps meet with unquestioning approval, 
let us turn to Madame de La Motte. 




After the sentence on Jeanne de Valois 
had been executed, pubHc opinion veered 
round in her favour ; and the movement is 
duly noted in the journal of the bookseller 
Hardy. Such a revulsion is in fact almost 
a general law. Here is a woman guilty of a 
crime : at the first moment she is the object 
of bitter indignation ; people clamour for 
her death ; abandoned to the mob she would 
be lynched. Months pass by ; the un- 
happy woman is incarcerated, and is now 
alone, feeble, deserted. It begins to be 
thought that the prosecution was merciless 
and the condemnation brutal, while re- 


membrance of the crime is dulled, or it loses 
its horror as men's minds are familiarised 
with it. Ere long the public hear nothing 
but the pleadings of their own emotions and 
chivalrous sentiments. Is it certain that 
the woman was guilty ? She had enemies. 
Some say she is a martyr. 

The circumstances of Madame de La 
Motte's punishment had been horrible. 
They spread through Paris, and made a 
deep impression on the populace. People 
retailed her imprecations on the queen 
and the Cardinal de Rohan, her charges 
against them, her accusations against the 
Parlement, all honey and indulgence to 
people of importance, always ready to 
grovel to the court, the nobility, and the 
clergy. ' Hardly had the sentence on the 
Dame de La Motte been carried into execu- 
tion,' writes Hardy, 'when a certain section 
of the public, touched with compassion, 
perhaps because they regarded her as the 


victim of a court intrigue, ventured to 
blame the Parlement, believing that that 
court had shown undue severity in the 
matter. They endeavoured to bring its 
judgment into bad odour, and clamoured 
against the violence it had been compelled 
to employ.' 

'It is not surprising,' we read in the 
Memoirs of the Princess de Lamballe, * that 
Paris, which till this moment had delighted 
in the queen as in a beneficent divinity 
whose mere look carried consolation to the 
souls of the wretched, could not understand 
how she had abandoned Madame de La 
Motte to the horror of her fate ; and as 
the Frenchman must go to extremes, he 
passed from idolatry to indignation. Public _j 
opinion began to vacillate, and the private 
enemies of this princess stimulated the dis- 
content. The queen no longer saw the 
crowd pressing about her to catch a glimpse 
of her, no longer heard their flattering 


murmurs of delight. No one told the 
queen that the coldness the crowd mani- 
fested towards her might have fatal results, 
and far from seeking to destroy it, she 
took offence. Her features, hitherto so 
sweet and caressing, expressed in public 
nothing but haughtiness and disdain for 
the opinion of those whom she never 
dreamt of regarding as able to dispose of 
her destiny and that of her family.' 

Engravings in the picture-shops repre- 
sented the countess in the costume of the 
Salpetriere : a dress of coarse grey drugget, 
with stockings of the same colour, a brown 
woollen petticoat, a round cap, a coarse 
linen chemise and a pair of sabots. The 
journals related the most trivial details of 
her life in prison. Only the most unfeeling 
could fail to be touched by them. 

'The situation of the countess,' said the 

Gazette d' Utrecht, ' is beginning to interest 

^ even people who were most unmoved at 


her punishment. It is quite a mistake to 
beheve that the unfortunate woman enjoys 
any marks of preference over her com- 
panions in imprisonment. She is stretched 
on a bed of pain, which she steeps in her 
tears. It is true that beneficent hands 
have flown to her succour ; but the custom 
prevaiHng in this house of distributing 
among all the inmates the marks of kind- 
ness intended by charitable souls for one 
of them results in her scarcely feeling any 
effects from the beneficence of those who 
wish to assist her. Her complexion is 
yellow. She has become extremely thin. 
She is mixed up with a crowd of women, 
the scum of nature and society, branded 
like herself, who yet have some considera- 
tion for the unhappy woman whom they 
call *' the countess," and whom they en- 
deavour to console. The Dame de La 
Motte weeps only for her lost honour, and 
not for her dreadful plight. She has to 



sleep with three others, on a mattress 
terribly hard. She is obliged for the most 
part to pass the night on a bench ; or, 
when awake, she does nothing but groan 
in a room where the windows are ten feet 
from the ground. There no light is ever 
seen, except the half-intercepted daylight. 
She wears the uniform of the establishment. 
She has only a few wretched dressing- 
jackets and round caps ; but when they 
are worn out, she will have to be satisfied 
with fustian rags. Her food is black bread; 
on Sundays an ounce of meat, on Fridays 
a piece of cheese, on the other days some 
beans or lentils soaked in plenty of water.' 

Anecdotes were told about her to bring 
tears to the eyes, and people did weep. 
She had written to the Archbishop of 
Paris a letter 'sublime in the picture of 
suffering she there draws, and in the piety 
and resignation she gives expression to. 
M. du Tillet, director of the General 


Hospital, consoled her, exhorting her to 
dry her tears — 

' I will dry my tears, sir, since you will 
have it so ; but you will at least allow those 
of gratitude to flow.' 

*The Dame de La Motte,' notes the 
Gazette de Leyde, ' is becoming more and 
more stoical and resigned to her fate. She 
employs herself the greater part of the 
day in reading and meditating on the 
ascetic book on the Imitation of Jesus 
Christ, ' 

In reading and meditating the Imitation 
of Christ ! — and the queen dared to say 
that she was a criminal ! She was a saint ! 

One of these anecdotes daily purveyed 
to the public set all Europe thrilling. It 
became known — and the gazettes were on 
the point of issuing special editions, though 
the use of big-type posters was not yet 
invented — it became known that the poor 
women at the Salp6triere, young and old, 


thieves and light women, the scum of the 
human race, touched by so much virtue 
and resignation, by such kindHness and 
grace, had clubbed together, one going 
without her snuff, another not sending her 
fancy-man the usual three sous a week, in 
order to provide the countess with a varia- 
tion from the usual menu — rye bread, boiled 
lentils and cheese — namely, a dish of peas 
and bacon. 

Dear, simple, primitive souls! Christ, 
as the Gazette de Hollande eloquently 
observed, knew the human soul when, at 
Golgotha, scorning the rich, He bent His 
head towards the repentant thief. 

And thus the rich and noble were piqued 
into emulation. The Salpetriere had not 
received so many and such brilliant visitors 
for many a long day : the Mar^chale de 
Mouchy, the Duchess de Duras, Madame 
du Bourg, and a hundred others. An 
anonymous letter written from the house of 


detention to the Baronne de Saint- Remy, 
sister of Jeanne de Valois, said: 'AH the 
grandees have been to see your sister ; 
they all take her part. Who would not ? 
God alone knows the truth and purity of 
her heart ! ' The Duke of Orleans, who 
was at the head of the Freemasons and 
preparing for his revolutionary part, saw 
what profit he might make of the business, 
and the duchess took the lead in this 
charming movement of compassion. * Draw 
up a memorial to the Duchess of Orleans,' 
said the letter to Marie Anne de Saint- 

Naturally, there was some talk of plans 
of escape. One of them was especially 
picturesque. 'The countess,' said the 
Gazette d' Utrecht of August i, 'has at- 
tempted to escape. She had already made 
a hole through which her head would go. 
She stuck in this opening, so that she 
could go neither forward nor backward. 


Fright seized her : she struggled in vain, 
and her cries brought up the warders, who 
found her in that position. Her attempt 
has only increased the rigour of her deten- 

Among the compassionate souls so much 
touched by the fate of Jeanne de Valois, 
there was one who holds a peculiar place 
by reason of her delicious grace and kindli- 

Louise de Carignan was left at eighteen 
years the widow of a husband who had 
died of dissipation — Stanislas de Bourbon, 
Prince de Lamballe. * The greatest beauty 
of Madame de Lamballe,' say the Gon- 
courts, ' was the serenity of her features. 
The very brilliance of her eyes was restful. 
In spite of the shocks and the fever of a 
nervous ailment, there was not a wrinkle, 
not a cloud on her beautiful forehead, 
caressed by the long fair tresses which later 
on still curled about the pike. An Italian 


by race, Madame de Lamballe had all the 
graces of the northern peoples. Her soul 
was as serene as her face. She was 
tender and caressing, always ready to make 
sacrifices, devoted in little things, dis- 
interested above all. Her mind had the 
virtues of her temperament — tolerance, 
simplicity, amiability, quiet cheerfulness. 
Seeing no evil, and unwilling to believe in 
it, Madame de Lamballe fashioned things 
and the world to her own image, and 
banishing every evil thought by the charity 
of her illusions, her talk breathed unruffled 
peace and sweetness.' 

The horrible fate of Madame de La Motte 
made a deep impression on the sensitive 
and excitable nature of the young princess. 
Her imagination took fire at the thought of 
a judicial error. She remembered having 
seen her respected father-in-law, the gentle 
and charitable Duke de Penthievre, receiving 
Madame de La Motte at Chateauvilain with 


the honours reserved for princesses of the 
blood. She was on intimate terms with 
her sister-in-law the Duchess of Orleans. 
She presided over masonic lodges. At 
this very time, feeling that the queen was 
a little neglected among the enmities spring- 
ing up and growing dangerous around her, 
the Princess de Lamballe, who had quietly- 
withdrawn before Madame de Polignac, 
returned to the side of the queen ; and yet 
she could not refrain from bearing to the 
Salpdtriere the consolations of her great 
heart. But natures like hers are not 
easily understood. The superior of the 
Salpetriere at this time was Madame 
Robin, known as Sister Victoire. One day 
Madame de Lamballe insisted on seeing 
the prisoner, relying on her rank as a 
princess of the blood to open all doors be- 
fore her. Sister Victoire declined to allow 
her, believing that she was actuated merely 
by a vain curiosity which would only 


have inflicted additional humiliation on 
the condemned woman. 

' But why cannot I see Madame de La 
Motte ? ' 

* Because, madame, that is not part of 
her sentence.' 




Madame de La Motte was attended at 
the Salpetriere by one of the prisoners, a 
girl named Angelique, who had been 
condemned to perpetual imprisonment for 
having in the despair of desertion killed 
her child. About the end of November 
1786, a sentry on duty in one of the court- 
yards of the hospital, passing the stock 
of his musket through a broken pane 
of glass, wakened Angelique sleeping 
within. The soldier told her that some one 
was scheming to set her and her mistress 
free. Next day he handed her a note 
written in sympathetic ink, the writing of 
which she made visible by holding it to 


the fire. This was the beginning of a 
correspondence. * The important thing is,' 
said the unknown benefactor, who had 
taken the fate of Jeanne de Valois to heart, 
'to obtain a model of the key opening 
the gate by which the prisoner will have 
to go out' But how was this model to 
be procured.'* Jeanne had the idea to 
examine carefully every day the key hang- 
ing from the bunch of the nun who came 
to visit her. Then, when the good sister 
had left her, she tried to draw an exact 
reproduction of it on a blank sheet of paper. 
Next day she would examine it again, and 
correct her drawing in one point or another. 
The hole in the lock gave the dimensions 
of the key. Jeanne considered at last 
that her drawing, after being touched up 
more than twenty times, ought to be pretty 
exact. She had it passed to the sentry, 
and he, a few days afterwards, brought 
back a key which opened the lock. 


One after another, the sentinel had 
conveyed to her the various parts of a 
disguise — coat, breeches, and hat. Mean- 
while Angelique, who was to have been 
a lifelong prisoner, had been set at liberty, 
and another prisoner, named Marianne, 
wife of Desrues the poisoner, was given 
as a servant to Madame de La Motte. 
But some time elapsed without a reappear- 
ance on the part of the sentry, and Madame 
de La Motte was becoming alarmed, when 
she received by the same channel a note 
which said : ' Your dear Angelique is free ; 
name the day when you want to be free too.' 

*The 5th of June' was her reply. She 
knew that on that day Sister Fanchon, 
whose duty it was to shut the doors along 




the corridor, was going to the Bois de 

She put on her disguise : a frock coat 
of royal blue, black vest, and breeches, a 
tall round hat ; she took a light walking- 
stick and put on a pair of skin gloves. 
The key opened the doors. The two 
fugitives reached the courtyard, where they 
mingled with the crowd. They knew that 
they were to make for the Seine, where a 
boat with two men on board was awaiting 
them. They found the boat, and took 
their places. The men rowed rapidly to 
Charenton ; on the bank was a fiacre to 
drive them to Maison- Rouge, where they 
passed the first night. 

Provins was the second stage. In the 
streets of the little town, a group of officers, 
staring at the young women, saw through 
the disguise. One of them left the rest. 

* My fine cavalier, were you to lead me 
to the pit of hell I 'd follow you/ he said. 


Madame de La Motte was speechless with 

' I see what it is,' continued the soldier. 
* You 're a young lady running away from 
the convent, and going to join the happy 
man who has your heart.' 

* Sir, if you are so sure of it, please 
don't follow me. Isn't your persistence 
indiscreet ? ' 

Clearly an indiscretion. The gallant 
strode away. 

Taking warning by the incident, Madame 
de La Motte judged it prudent to throw off 
her disguise. Marianne bought at a shop 
in the town some things suitable to a 
countrywoman — a basket, some butter and 

A league from Provins, rows of greyish 
willows edge the banks of the Voulzie, 
which flows on, a clear and merry stream, 
between green meadows. Clumps of rushes 
and long grasses form curtains in which 


the wind rustles. There the two fugitives 
found a hiding-place. Their male attire 
was tied up In a bundle, a stone was 
fastened to it, and It was thrown Into deep 
water. And here is Jeanne walking on 
the highroad, a country peasant woman, 
with short petticoats, looking very dainty 
in her many-laced linen bodice, her cloth 
apron, her petticoat of calamanco with 
stripes of blue, pink, and white, her little 
feet in a clumsy pair of shoes with shining 
buckles. She has in her basket some fresh 
butter and white eggs she Is going to sell 
at the next market. Passing peasants hail 
the fresh, pretty, laughing girl, and give 
her a lift in their waggons. And thus 
she comes to Troyes, whence she reaches 
the environs of Bar-sur-Aube. 

She arrived at the Crottieres, open 
quarries whence is extracted the ragstone 
of which many of the houses in the town 
are constructed. The Crottieres served as 


an asylum to vagabonds and tramps. A 
little fir copse divides them from the road 
that leads from Bar-sur-Aube to Clairvaux. 
From this height you get a view of the 
town encircled by the shining arms of the 
Aube, behind the village of Fontaine, so 
picturesque with its old bridge and its 
whirling, clicking mills. There the Bresse 
flows up to join it, like a ribbon gleaming 
in the luxuriant grass, and plaiting itself 
capriciously with the quivering ranks of 
reeds. And in the distance the hills of 
Sainte-Germaine arch themselves into a 
sombre cupola, St. Peter's showing the 
graceful outlines of its pointed spire. In 
the darkness of the Crottieres the fugitive 
lay hidden. She sent Marianne with notes 
to relatives and old friends whom she knew 
in Bar-sur-Aube. M. de Surmont, who 
had taken her into his house many years 
before when she fled from the convent of 
Longchamp, came to her at night. They 



sat talking by the roadside. He left her 
some money. *When the hapless woman,' 
says Beugnot, ' fleeing from the Salpetriere, 
hid herself in the quarries during the night, 
my mother, who had never ceased to main- 
tain her innocence, even after the judgment, 
had the courage to go and seek her there. 
She restored to her a gift of twenty louis 
which the countess had intrusted to her 
for the relief of distress in the time of her 
prosperity. She did more. She raised the 
poor disgraced woman in her own eyes, 
by bringing her own purity and virtue in 
contact with her.' 

From Bar-sur-Aube, Jeanne and her 
faithful companion reached Lorraine, 
Nancy, then Luneville, then Metz, Thion- 
ville, Ettingen and Hollerich, in the grand- 
duchy of Luxembourg, where they were 
received by a lady named Schilz. Through 
Belgium, by Bruges and Ostend, they at last 
gained the shores of England, and from 



Dover posted to London, where Madame 
de La Motte was able to throw herself into 
the arms of her husband, on August 4, 
1787, at four o'clock in the afternoon. 

What mysterious hand had favoured her 
flight? She never knew. The opinion of 
the time was that the queen herself had 
opened a way of escape. Madame Campan 
had no suspicion of it. ' Through a series 
of misapprehensions which guided the pro- 
ceedings of the court, it was found that the 
cardinal and the woman La Motte were 
equally guilty but unequally punished, and 
they wished to redress the balance. This 
new crime confirmed the Parisians in the 
idea that this creature, who had never 
succeeded in penetrating even so far as 
the antechamber of the queen's women, 
had really awakened the interest of that 
unfortunate princess.' 




The Countess de La Motte rejoined her 
husband in London on August 4, 1787. 
' Several times, during the period I spent with 
her,' writes the count, *she tried to destroy 
herself, and for mere trifles, the most in- 
significant vexations. Twice I held her 
back by her clothes when she attempted 
to fling herself out of window. When 
she rejoined me in London, I avoided all 
occasions of causing her the least annoy- 
ance. I quickly perceived that the great 
misfortunes she had suffered had much 
embittered her temper, and that tact and 
caution were needed to keep her in good 



humour. In spite of all my patience I 
could not help saying one day that her 
woes were all caused by her own wayward- 
ness and extravagances. I had no sooner 
uttered the words than she flung herself 
on a dagger she happened to be holding 
in her hand, and, despite my promptitude 
in running to her, along with the people 
who were in the house, we could not 
prevent her from striking herself below 
the breast, and we saw her fall helpless 
to the floor.' 

Husband and wife were in extreme 
poverty. La Motte, spendthrift as he was, 
had not been long in getting rid of all the 
money and jewels he had taken from the 
jeweller Gray after his flight from Bar- 
sur-Aube in 1785. An English lord, 
touched with compassion for the pitiable 
victim of a judicial error, gave a pension 
to the countess, and she found a second 
protector in Charles Alexandre de Calonne, 


the former controller-general of the finances, 
who had worked actively to secure the 
acquittal of the cardinal from a desire to 
wound the queen, and who, as we shall 
see, exerted himself by and by to deal 
Marie Antoinette the final blow. Jeanne 
was at this time thirty-one years old, and 
as pretty, lively, and piquant as ever. Old 
Calonne became quite sparkish again. 
And his hatred for the queen was thus 
blent with his attachment to the little 
countess, a conjunction destined to pro- 
duce the most monstrous of collaborations. 

The Necklace case had made a tre- 
mendous sensation throughout Europe, and 
especially in England. A book by Madame 
de La Motte relating the story in full detail 
was sure to be a success which would pro- 
vide her with the means of subsistence. 
As her style was hopelessly defective, 
Calonne introduced to her Serre de Latour, 
a French journalist who had taken refuge 


in London after running away with the 
wife of the intendant of Auvergne, and was 
there editing the Courrier de V Europe, a 
news-sheet financed by a speculator named 
Swinton. And Calonne put his own services 
at her disposal. 

The tide of slander was rising around 
Marie Antoinette. ' Listen,' write the 
Goncourts, 'listen to a nation's whispers 
and murmurs, rising, falling, falling, rising, 
between the Markets and Versailles, 
between Versailles and the Markets. 
Listen to the populace, listen to the chair- 
bearers, listen to the courtiers bringing 
calumny from Marly and then post-haste 
to Paris ! Listen to the marquises in the 
actresses' dressing-rooms, in the drawing- 
rooms of the Sophie Arnoulds and the 
Contats, of harlots and opera-girls. Inter- 
rogate the street, the ante-room, the salons, 
the court, the royal family itself. Calumny 
is everywhere, even at the very skirts of 


the queen/ And what fuel the pen of the 
countess was about to furnish to the fire ! 
It was dreaded at Versailles. Madame de 
La Motte and Calonne were being watched. 
The Duchess of Polignac set out for London, 
and condescended to negotiate with the La 
Mottes, offering them money. But Jeanne 
worked herself up to a fine pitch of indig- 
nation, and made preposterous demands. 
She claimed her rehabilitation, in addition 
to the money and all that had been taken 
from her. Her Memoirs appeared. 

* I can attest,' wrote Madame Campan, 
* that I saw in the queen's hands a manu- 
script of the Memoirs of the woman La 
Motte, brought her from London : it was 
corrected by the hand of Calonne himself 
at every place where total ignorance of the 
customs of the court had made her commit 
gross blunders.' * M. de Latour,' writes the 
Count de La Motte on the other hand, 
' handed the manuscript to M. de Calonne, 


who made changes and corrections and 
additions without number, almost on every 
page : all these corrections were written 
with his own hand, and for the most part in 

In the course of her examinations at the 
Bastille, Jeanne de Valois had declared that 
the Necklace had been stolen by Cagliostro. 
Afterwards, before the Parlement, she 
asserted that the robber was the Cardinal 
de Rohan. ' In the matter of the Necklace,' 
she had written when on the point of 
appearing before her judges, 'it is an un- 
doubted fact that the king and queen had 
several years ago refused to purchase it. 
If it was true that the queen had taken a 
new fancy for the jewel, she could have got 
it without any mystery with the funds at her 

But she once more changed her tune. In 
her Mdmoire justificatif ^^ declared that the 
Necklace had been taken by the queen. 


An extract will enable the reader to 
appreciate the Mdmoire justijicatif, ' I need 
no longer put any restraint on myself,' wrote 
Madame de La Motte. * I suppose myself at 
this moment in regions of independence and 
peace, where my sufferings will, I hope, win 
me a place, relating, without prejudice as 
without passion, to the celestial throng the 
sad dreams I have had on earth.' 

The Cardinal de Rohan, as we know, had 
only arrived in Vienna as ambassador a 
year after the departure of Marie Antoinette 
to become the wife of the dauphin, after- 
wards Louis XVI. Obviously, then, he could 
not have seen the young archduchess there. 
This was no obstacle to the following para- 
graph, in Jeanne de La Motte's dispassionate 
story to the * celestial throng ' : — 

The Cardinal de Rohan told me, and repeated 
to me several times, that the grievances of 
Her Majesty rested on a poor foundation. He 
confided to me that, at the time when he was 


ambassador at Venice, the queen was still an 
archduchess. Emboldened by the lightness of 
N her conduct, he had ventured to offer his homage, 
which was not rejected. His happiness had 
passed as a dream. The marked favours 
obtained by a German officer had turned his 
head till he allowed himself to drop most in- 
discreet remarks. 

This extract will give an idea of the tone 
and the veracity of the work, which was 
presented to the public under the guise of 
the finest sentiments — 'my sensitiveness 
and delicate notions of honour,' said Jeanne. 
The book also derived something from the 
persuasive faculty which she undoubtedly 
possessed. Eight thousand copies were 
printed, and in a short time more than seven 
thousand had been disposed of. It was at 
once translated into English and German. 
In Germany it appeared in two different 
editions, one published by the booksellers 
of Brunswick, the other by those of 


— \ 

* In London,' writes M. Pierre de Nolhac, 

* Madame de La Motte published her odious 
Memoirs, a medley of passion and falsehood, 
which dragged the crown into the mud of 
the gutter. Between the queen's word 3 
and the word of the adventuress France 
hesitated. Ere long she ventured to make 
her choice, and the pamphlets of this*^ 
woman caused the definitive acceptance of ^ 
the legend of Marie Antoinette's vices. It 
was in them that Fouquier-Tinville after- 
wards found his arguments, on them that he ^ 
based the justice of his cause.' ' At the 
court, as well as in the city,' said Maitre 
Labori in a speech at the advocates' con- 
ference in 1888, 'every one showed himself 
ready to credit the queen with every form 
of wickedness and vice, and the legend of 
her debaucheries has not even yet dis- 
appeared from history.' 

And yet Maitre Labori himself, devoted 
as he is to the memory of Marie Antoinette, 


admits that the countess must have had 
relations with her. We affirm, on the con- 
trary, that she never had with the queen 
any connection whatever, of any sort, at 
any time. The queen never even saw her. 
Marie Antoinette wrote on August 22, 
1785, to her brother Joseph 11.: * This 
adventuress of the lowest class has no place 
here, and has never had access to my 
presence.' *At the time of the trial,' says 
Madame Campan, ' the queen sent for some 
of the engravings representing Madame de 
La Motte. She never even remembered 
seeing her pass through the gallery at 
Versailles, which was open to the public, 
and where Madame de La Motte often 
showed herself.' 

What did Rosalie, the countess's maid, 
say at the preliminary inquiry ? 

' I never heard anybody in the house 
speak of any relations between Madame de 
La Motte and the queen.' 


What did Mademoiselle Colson, her 
companion, say? 

' I spent two years with Madame de La 
Motte' (at the very time of the Necklace 
intrigue) * and never saw or heard anything 
to lead me to infer that there were relations 
between the queen and the countess.' 

What did Marie Anne de Saint-Remy, 
Jeanne's sister, declare to the Abbe Bew, 
who sent her to his cousin Bew the book- 
seller in London, the publisher of Madame 
de La Motte's Memoirs ? 

* Yes, sir, my sister herself told me that 
the letters in her Memoirs were forged, and 
that the greater part of the book was false. 
And for myself, sir, I confidently affirm that 
my sister never had an interview with the 
queen, and that the whole story is absurd.' 

And what did Madame de La Motte 
herself declare, in her letters and cross- 
examination, and in the memorials she got 
her advocate to draw up .-^ * I never had 


the honour of seeing the queen.' ' I never 
flattered myself on having any credit with 
the queen/ ' I know nobody who was in 
the queen's suite.' * The Dame de La 
Motte,' said her advocate Maitre Doillot, 
* in spite of a name everywhere recognised, 
was not known at court, and had no 
relations, public or private, with the 
sovereign.' And further: * Is there any 
need to speak of another fable, that inter- 
course with the queen of which Madame 
de La Motte is said to have boasted as of 
a secret correspondence ? The countess 
would be highly culpable if the allegation 
were true, since it is an honour she never 
had. She humbly beseeches her judges 
attentively to listen to the reading of the 
depositions in regard to this fable, and to 
mark with special attention the firm tone in 
which she has denied it' 

After such a mass of corroborative testi- 
mony, can the least doubt still remain ? 


The appearance of the Memoirs had for 
its first result the loss of the protection and 
the subsidies of the English lord, who had 
poured out his heart and his purse at the 
knees of this poor martyr of the French 
courts. He was, it appears, a man of good 
sense, and the victim of the judicial error 
appeared to him thenceforth less inter- 

After breaking with the lord, she quar- 
relled with Calonne. There was an exciting 
scene. The two lovers were playing at 
piquet. After a decisive stroke the 
ex-minister cried, * Madame, you are 
marked ! ' The unintentional allusion cut 
like a knife. The countess had a hasty 
temper. Quick as lightning, she over- 
turned the table, dashed at her partner, 
and then, * with the fair hands which hither- 
to had only stroked the face of the old 
beau,' she left some deep marks of her fury. 

The Count de La Motte had had enough 


of it. He took advantage of the disorders 
following on the events of the 14th of July 
to desert his wife and return to Paris. He 
arrived there on August 18, 1789. From 
that day, the correspondence of Madame 
de La Motte with her husband and sister, 
the latter in retirement at the Abbey of 
Jarcy, furnishes most valuable information. 

Marie Anne de Remy, described as a 
buxom creature, fair, dull, sweet-tempered 
and indolent, was in every respect the 
opposite of her sister. When, on June 2, 

1786, she heard of her sister's condemnation, 
in her grief she swallowed a phial of poison. 
The Abbess of Jarcy administered remedies 
for twelve hours in succession, while the 
young woman was contorted with frightful 
pain. She recovered, and on September 20, 

1787, the Abbe Pfaff wrote to the Countess 
de La Motte in London about her : — 

*When you ask your sister for help, I 
see that you are ignorant of her sad con- 


dition. Her state of health is worse than 
death. The different poisons she has 
swallowed on as many as four occasions 
since June 2 last year, and especially on 
that day, owing to her despair about you, 
have led to such a state of continual suffer- 
ing and depression of spirits that it is 
impossible to imagine a condition more 
grievous and pitiable. And in addition she 
continues to be in great want.' All she 
had to live on was her pension of 800 livres. 
After the condemnation of Madame de La 
Motte, Louis xvi. increased it by 2700 livres 
from the privy purse. 

The letters addressed by Marie Anne to 
her sister Jeanne from the moment when 
the latter, deserted by her husband, re- 
mained alone in London, in abject poverty, 
are quite touching. 

'Your husband,' she wrote early in 
December 1789, 'has left you in distress. 
He is in Paris, where he is said to be 



telling the most shameful tales about you. 
Poor thing! These are the people, with 
their bad company and their evil counsels, 
who have ruined you ! The Memoirs they 
are ascribing to you, which your husband 
has put your name to without putting his 
own, so that he can disown them and let 
you bear the odium, have done you much 
harm. Many people who, like myself, be- 
lieved you to be innocent, as you assured 
me you were in the Bastille, have been 
astonished at these Memoirs, I can't 
believe my sister capable of the horrors 
they contain, for they contain horrible 
things against my father, and are full of 
lies.' She adds that she intends to leave 
France, and pleads with Jeanne to come with 
her. Madame de La Motte had informed 
her that she was working at some fresh 
writings, at a long narrative in which she 
would unfold the whole story of her life, 
and which would make a sensation. 


* You say in your letter that you are 
writing your life. Alas! what good will 
that be ? It is said you are only doing all 
this to gain money. Is that how a Valois 
should try to regain public esteem ? ' 

Marie Anne ended with an entreaty : 
* Listen to the voice of honour and truth. 
Don't reject what I say. It is the heart 
that speaks to you, the only heart still left 
to you, which tells you that silence is 
better than all these memoirs in which you 
are ruining yourself. If you will return to 
your better mind and follow my advice, 
you will find in your sister a true friend, 
who only wishes your good, and will gladly 
share with you all that she has. And I 
would suggest that we should finish our 
days together, and retire to Switzerland or 
Italy, or to some German principality, where 
we should be happy and free and, above 
all, unknown. With my little fortune, we 
shall be able to live very decently in the 


countries where life is cheap. Alas ! my 
poor dear, how I wish this plan might please 
you ! I would give everything in the world 
for that to be, and I should be happy to 
have my sister with me, recovered from 
her errors, and to live together till death.' 

Madame de La Motte replied with a 
reference to the Almighty, and Marie 
Anne, from her bed, where she was kept 
by her weakness and anxiety, wrote again 
on December 15, 1789 : — 

* I have just received your beautiful and 
godly letter, which did not surprise me, 
because I have never doubted your good 
feelings so long as you are away from bad 
company : but I am surprised by your con- 
fession that you really have published the 
Memoirs, whereby you show yourself so very 
culpable and forgetful of the God you have 
to-day so often at the point of your pen.' 
She goes on to speak of the evil reports 


La Motte is spreading about his wife in 
Paris. He is leading a gay life at the 
Palais Royal, in a very expensive suite on 
the second floor. 

* I hope your distress may not be worse 
than his,' says Marie Anne. 'Poor thing! 
In spite of your approval of him, I can't 
bring myself to pardon the principal author 
of my poor sister's troubles. I might also 
invoke the name of God, like you, and, 
without probing deeper into this dreadful 
business, tell you constantly that God is 
good and merciful, that you must- hope in 
His loving-kindness, and that He will not 
refuse His favour to the submissive and 
repentant child, as you say so well. Well, 
my sister, why, with such beautiful religious 
sentiments, why want always to set people 
talking about you, by all these writings, 
which will end in ruining you before God 
and men ? With true repentance you may 
yet hope, as you say, to be pitied and 


respected ; but, I tell you, you will not do 
it by these Memoirs. I am your sister and 
friend, don't spurn my advice; and since 
you tell me I am your consolation, and 
I ask nothing better than to help to make 
you happy, it all depends on yourself. I 
would give my life to succeed in this, my 
dear sister. Renounce, I beseech you, 
these dreadful memoirs of yours. 

* I am much disappointed to see that you 
do not approve my suggestion that we 
should spend the remainder of our days 
together — since you do not answer on that 
point. Alone, in a free country, where we 
were unknown, we could live respectably. 
I confess that, though I repeat the sug- 
gestion, I fear you will still oppose it. How- 
ever, I don't want to force your inclinations. 
What I say to you is said at the dictation 
of love and honour, and unhappily you do 
not always understand what those words 
mean. But I shall never reproach you. 


Let us bury the past ! But the present 
should guide our future course. I blame 
nobody but the wretches who have led you 
so deep into wrong-doing. I should be 
overwhelmed with joy if my sister at last 
recognised my affection and had some 
confidence in her only friend. 

* Poor sister ! Remember once for all 
that your greatest enemy now is yourself, 
and that your one friend is myself, offering 
you everything I have ! 

* It is said that the city will soon resume 
its payments, and I shall get my eighteen 
months' arrears. Then I will send you some- 
thing, and you will rejoin me, or I will 
come to you if you like, and we will retire 
to some spot where we can still live and be 
happy, if you will but try. 

'Good-bye, good-bye. I send my best 

And what did Madame de La Motte 
reply to these words, sprung from so real 


a feeling, so sincere an affection ? We 
have none of her letters to Marie Anne, 
but we have those she wrote to her hus- 
band. In these she shows herself as she 
was ; we see her at last in her true 

* I was in such haste to catch the post,' 
she wrote on January ii, 1790, 'that I had 
no time to give you any details concerning 
the moissonneuse^ (thus she calls her sister). 
* I have received only two letters from her ' 
(the two we have just read). ' In the first 
she suggests that we should spend our last 
days together, in Switzerland or Italy where 
living is cheap ; says she would be happy 
if I approved her scheme ; but advises me 
to stop publishing memoirs, and says she 
wants to know how I am placed, so that 
she can help me. She tells me that people 
in Paris are saying you have deserted me, 
and a hundred other horrors. As I know 

1 Properly a reaper, harvester. 


these precious humbugs, I don't care a rap 
for them. And so I have made a very 
brief reply, and asked nothing for myself, 
but only ten guineas for that monster 

The ' monster Angelique ' was the girl 
who while a prisoner in the Salp^triere had 
devoted herself to the countess's service. 
Like Marianne, the companion of Madame 
de La Motte's flight, she had joined the 
countess in England. Both had taken 
service with her. But as the lady did not 
pay them their wages, and they were 
scandalised at what went on in the house, 
they had left her. And Angelique was 
demanding her wages so that she might 
return to France. 

* A second letter,' continues Madame de 
La Motte, 'arrived on December 15 : dzs- 
graceful. ' 

This is the letter we have just transcribed; 
the word disgraceful is underlined. 


' A hundred more offers, to be fulfilled 
only on one condition : that there are no 
more memoirs. In short, she treats me 
horribly badly. And you are the hero of 
the business ; fancy, you are the sole author 
of it all ; and so she runs on with expres- 
sions worthy of such a pair of knaves ' (her 
sister, and the abbe Pfaff, who pitied her 
condition and was trying to do something 
for her). * Accustomed to deceive every- 
body, they are really working for my 
enemies, as I have told them.' 

She goes on to say that the abbe had 
come to see her in London. 

' He came on Sunday, December 27, at 
five in the afternoon. He embraced me 
— his breath stank like the plague — and 
shook hands in English fashion. He re- 
mained till ten o'clock, and came again next 

' The same impudent rogue, seeing that I 
abused my sister so roundly in regard to all 


the money she enjoys since my misfortunes, 
and that it Httle becomes her, in making 
offers, to add conditions to them, when 
everything she has is mine ; he answered 
that that was not true, that it was the king 
who had given it to her. But the king has 
only given what belongs to us. She has an 
income of 3200 livres, which are certainly 
the 35,000 livres from the Bastille.' 

(Louis XVI. had indeed thought at first 
of giving the 30,000 — not 35,000 — livres, 
which the stolen Necklace had produced, to 
Marie Anne; but the Cardinal de Rohan 
having opposed the plan, he had given her 
a pension of 2700 livres from his privy 

'And this monster,' continues Madame 
de La Motte, speaking of Marie Anne, 'has 
had the heart not to come to her sister's 
help, but is supporting a rogue. Ah ! he ' 
(the abbe Pfaff) * is costing her dear ! He 
told me they had three children ; and that 


they were paying 800 livres for their rooms. 
He occupies the back and she the front. 
He goes to her as soon as the servants 
are in bed, through a passage under the 
staircase, which leads to a Httle room 
belonging to the moissonneuse near her 

It is unnecessary to remark that all these 
details are the product of Madame de La 
Motte's imagination. She went out of her 
way to spread these stories and to write 
them for every one to read. 

And she had found a means to pro- 
cure the money she so badly needed. ' I 
shall send to my sister's,' she wrote to her 
husband, 'to get her desk opened and to 
steal 9500 livres.' 

This curious letter, so useful in fixing 
Madame de La Motte's character, is valu- 
able too for the lines with which it closes. 
No further proof, to be sure, is required 


that Jeanne stole and broke up the Neck- 
lace. The accumulation of facts is over- 
whelming. But it is interesting to have a 
formal confession from her own hand. In 
the Memoirs compiled and published by 
herself we read : — 

The cardinal's line of defence bore only on the 
alleged eagerness of M. de La Motte to carry off, 
not only his diamonds, but also mine, with our 
silver plate, lace, and all the valuable things we 
had ; ought not Madame de Surmont to have de- 
clared (Madame de Surmontwas M. de La Motte's 
aunt, who had years ago taken Jeanne de Valois 
into her house at Bar-sur-Aube) that it was false 
that M. de La Motte had carried off those things 
with the idea of taking flight, since he had in- 
trusted them to her safe keeping ? 

And further, in her letter of January 11, 
1790, to her husband, Madame de La Motte 
writes : — 

And don't forget that jade Madame de Sur- 
mont. For she, my love, she is the cause of our 
misfortunes. Don't spare her, for God's sake ! 


If I only could, I don't know what I wouldn't do 
to her. Remember that if she had only given up 
our diamonds at the proper time, what would 
there have been to condemn us ? 

The diamonds handed over by Madame 
de Surmont w^ere shown to Jeanne de 
Valois in the Bastille. In his still un- 
published Memoirs, the Count de La Motte 
writes : — 

These earrings (jewels taken in exchange in 
London by La Motte for the diamonds of the 
Necklace) had remained at Bar-sur-Aube, with 
various other things, as well as all the jewels 
and diamonds belonging to Madame de La Motte 
and me. All these things were shown to Madame 
de La Motte when she was examined and cross- 

The correspondence of Jeanne and her 
husband went on. She remarks on her 
sadness and her constantly increasing 
poverty. ' Sorrow is incessantly crushing 
me, reducing me to a skeleton.' Again : 


* I am very ill, my love, the bile is torturing 
me and sorrow eating my heart out; but 
courage still keeps me alive, the hope of 
conquering my enemies still sustains me.' 
The count appears in no better plight, but 
Jeanne roughly stirs him up : * O my love, 
drop all that weak talk about blowing 
out your brains. Really, you are a dis- 
grace to your sex.' He must live, and she 
gives him the reason : * Live, I tell you. 
For myself, I 'd rather become a servant 
than give my enemies pleasure by dying.' 




It was about this time, towards the end of 
1789, that two violent booklets appeared, 
written by Jeanne de Valois, or at any rate 
issued in her name. They made a great sensa- 
tion. These were her Letter to the Queen 
of France and her Petition to the Nation 
and the National Assembly for the Revision 
of her Trial. 'Odious, traitorous woman,' 
she wrote to Marie Antoinette, 'listen, 
and read me, if you can, without trembling. 
Ah, how you must blush, you who have 
been so long familiar with crime and shame. 
. . . 'Tis from the depths of the dark abyss, 
whither I have fled for shelter from your 
rage, that I address to you the utterance of 


a heart weighed down by grief.' There 
is no need to quote further. To the nation 
and the Assembly Jeanne said : ' It is come, 
that moment so much desired, that moment 
for which I would have given a thousand 
lives ! . . . Yes, Frenchmen, whatever 
your love of liberty may be, my soul can 
still challenge yours. You have not, like 
me, suffered the tortures of Despotism after 
having felt its perfidious caresses. . . . 
Tremble, ye villains ; I am about to appear 
in the arena. And I will cause to appear 
with me her (the queen) who has so in- 
famously sacrificed me.' 

Jeanne was in fact getting ready to serve 
up for Marie Antoinette, and all her enemies, 
real or imaginary, a new dish of her own 
invention. This was the Story of My 
Life, the great work in which all who had 
not behaved as she would have wished 
were about to be vilified in her most ac- 
complished style. Bew the bookseller 



hoped to create a great scandal. He ad- 
vanced two hundred and fifty pounds on 
receiving the manuscript. Two editions, 
one in French, the other in English, both 
illustrated, were to appear simultaneously. 

Meanwhile the Revolution was progress- 
ing. * I know,' wrote Madame de La Motte 
to her husband on December 14, 1790, 
'that there are many journals in Paris 
speaking in my favour.' And she adds, 
in her curious style, so incorrect, but 
singularly expressive : * After a certain fine 
character that we got put a month ago into 
the papers for the queen, I don't doubt 
there 'd be some one who, for a fortune, 
would desire that I should disavow that she 
is the dark original, so as to win back for 
her the affection of the people ; but on my 
life, for all the crowns in the world, I shall 
not disavow what I have said of her, and 
if she is only white through me, she will 
be all her life as black as the chimney.' 


J- iujsle veritable pke Ducheine, fouu 


D E 


A U 


M A L A D E, 


pri.sANNE. Grand malheur. qui leur. 
ARRIVE. Description de sa chambre. 


ADAME Lamdtte douee de ce caraftere 
renfible, qui eft ordinairemcnt }e partage des 
fenimes galanfes , fut tr^s-fachee de I'accideut 






And meanwhile Madame is compiling her 
book in a manner to command success. * I 
am highly flattering the French people,' 
she tells the Count de La Motte. And 
as a spice of anticlericalism is already an 
assured success, she does not fail to write 
that 'that ass the abbe Pfaff says of the 
French that they love blood.' 

In Paris, Jeanne found numerous assis- 
tants. Libels poured out one after another, 
insulting, infamous, filthy. The Letter of 
Madame de La Motte to the French, the 
Conversation between M, de Calonne and 
Madame de La Motte, the Conference between 
Madame de Polignac and Madame de La 
Motte, the Address of the Countess de La 
Motte- Valois to the National Assembly ; the 
Pere Duchesne series : Great Visit of Pere 
Duchesne to Madame Lamotte and Great 
Visit of Madame Lamotte to Pere Duchesne 
while ill, Declaration of Love by Pere 
Duchesne to Madame Lamotte- Valois, The 


book-hawkers read them aloud at the 
street- corners, becoming centres of gaping 

There was a lower descent still. There 
appeared the French Messalina, or the 
Nights of the Duchesse de Polignac, the 
Private, Libertine, and Scandalous Life of 
Marie Antoinette, the Nymphomania of 
Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XV L, 
Marie Antoinette in trouble, the Last Sighs 
of the Tearful Wench, the National B . . . 
under the Auspices of the Queen, the Royal 
B . , . followed by a Secret Lnterview be- 
tween the Queen and the Cardinal de 
Rohan, the Presents of the Goddess 
Hebe to the Royal Messalina, the Grand 
Fite given by the Mongrels of Paris to all 
the p ... on the day of the King and Queens 
arrival, in joy at the rettcrn of their 
Father and Mother, the Rustic Scenes at 
Trianon. These filthy pamphlets were in 
high vogue ; and copies were sold in con- 


siderable numbers. ' It is amazing,' says 
a writer, * to see this impure heap of libels 
pursuing the people in the streets, and 
spreading our shame over all Europe.' 

But the queen found defenders also : the 
Reply to the Petition of Jeanne de Valois, 
the Resurrection of the Necklace by M, 
Lameth and Company, the Captain Tempest 
to Jeanne de Valois. Addressing himself to 
the countess, the captain said : * I admit 
that in a moment of effervescence, when all 
the heads of the mob are excited, when all 
imaginations are on fire, it is easy for adroit 
and powerful villains to capture the minds 
of the people by flattering their passions, to 
delude them as to their true interests by 
covering with flowers the gulf into which 
they wish to drag them. I know even 
that sometimes their crimes may be bought. 
Consult your constituents and you will learn 
something of this ; or rather look at this 
moment into the depths of your own heart ; 


you will find there the great truth I affirm ; 
you will see that you are to-day only the 
passive instrument of the hate and venge- 
ance of a few ambitious men, who need 
the resources of your genius to fill up the 
measure of their conspiracies.' 




Around the La Mottes, in fact, an inter- 
esting party was disporting itself. The 
great revolutionists, Robespierre, Marat, 
Hebert, Sergent, Panis, Manuel, were 
quick to perceive the capital they might 
make of the Necklace affair. They hovered 
about the Count de La Motte, ' got him to 
reveal all the conduct of the queen, that 
audacious woman, who had drawn on her- 
self the scorn and hatred of all good 
Frenchmen.' In London, the agents of 
the Duke of Orleans were trying, on their 
part, to win Jeanne de Valois to their side. 
The Court was warned of it, and en- 
deavoured to ward off the danger. It was 


a curious game. On the king's side it was 
led by Mirabeau, whom Louis xvi. had just 
won over by means of his privy purse, 
though it is fair to say that Mirabeau ap- 
pears to have been sincerely indignant at 
the intrigue revealed to him. * I know no 
infamy, in these times so fertile in villainy,' 
writes the Comte de La Marck, ' which 
would have disgusted Mirabeau like this 
odious machination. It made him boil with 
rage, and redoubled his energy. *' I will 
snatch this hapless queen from her tor- 
mentors," he cried, '* or perish." At this 
time Mirabeau threw over all the calcula- 
tions that might have preserved his popu- 
larity ; and boldly and frankly mounted 
into the breach to attack the enemies of the 

His notes for the Court show how deeply 
the great orator was then preoccupied with 
the intrigues abrewing. * In the days pre- 
ceding and following July 14,' he wrote on 


November 11, 1790, 'and in the days pre- 
ceding and following October 5 and 6, the 
voice of Madame de La Motte was able by 
itself alone to bring about a horrible crime.* 
He goes on : 'Is the Duke of Orleans the 
sole author of this plot? Is he only the 
agent of La Fayette ? Whatever the truth 
may be, the Duke of Orleans is not alone, 
though he may be in the forefront. La 
Fayette has probably not appeared, but the 
Sdmonvilles and the Talons have appeared : 
it is their doing, the finger-mark of the 
worker is plain. Likewise the Lameths 
have not appeared ; but they have let fall 
hints, perhaps egged on a d'Aiguillon, a 
Muguet de Nantes, a Danton ; and they 
winked at things rather than actually 
brought them about, wishing, whatever 
happens, to be in a position to profit. All 
these people can be foiled if we only adopt 
a firm, rapid, and persistent course. This 
horrible plot is only really dangerous as 



long as we are afraid to probe it.' In a 
note dated November 12, he continues : ' It 
is no longer merely to gratify the public 
malignity that the revision of Madame de 
La Motte s case is being agitated for ; a 
direct attack on the queen is intended, not 
to appease a mere feeling of resentment, but 
to obtain other successes afterwards when 
the first obstacle is surmounted. It would 
not be a difficult nor an unlikely thing to 
systematise schemes as culpable. Perhaps, 
after having disorganised the realm and de- 
stroyed all the sources of authority, the heads 
of the popular party recognise that they 
have much more material for a republic than 
for a monarchy ; perhaps they are struck by 
the impossibility of re-establishing order 
without giving way and retracing their 
steps : and, either because shame holds 
them back, or because a greater ambition 
presents itself to their hopes, they prefer to 
change the ancient form of government, 


which it is almost out of their power now 
to consolidate. In this scheme the queen, 
whose character, firmness, and clearness 
of mind they know, would be the first 
object of their attack, both as the first and 
the strongest defence of the throne, and as 
the sentinel who is most assiduously watch- 
ing over the security of the monarch. But 
the great art of such ambitious men would 
be to conceal their aim. They would wish 
to appear to be forced on by events, and 
not to direct them. After having made the 
La Motte case a destructive poison to the 
queen ; after having changed the absurdest 
calumnies into legal proofs capable of de- 
ceiving the king ; they would raise, one after 
another, questions of divorce, regency, the 
marriage of kings, the education of the 
heir to the throne. In the midst of all 
these discussions and all these contests it 
would be easy to surround the king with 
terrors, to make the burden of the crown 


more and more unendurable, and finally to 
reduce his authority to such an empty form 
that he would himself abdicate, or agree to 
leave, for the rest of his reign, his power in 
other hands. The horrible designs I am only 
with great regret describing here, certainly 
do not exceed the bounds of human wicked- 
ness ; in this respect alone the La Motte 
affair would be formidable, because it would 
form part of a veritable conspiracy.'^ 

This remarkable page was well worth 
quoting in its entirety. Mirabeau con- 
cludes : ' If the woman La Motte is not 
arrested within a couple of days, you will 

^ It is very curious to compare this note of Mirabeau 
with the following passage from the J^ep/j/ to the Petition of 
Jeanne de La Motte, an anonymous pamphlet published at 
this time : ' The party making use of you will betray them- 
selves by their madness. This is what they will do : they 
will demand from the National Assembly a divorce, and 
couple this demand with the insults dictated to you against 
the queen. They want to induce the people and the 
capital, which they hope to cajole with talk of justice and 
vengeance, to ask the king to separate for ever from the 
mother of his children, and to abandon her to their rage.' 


have to change your procedure, confine 
yourselves to keeping an eye on her, find- 
ing out her plans, her connections, her 
resources, her hopes, without having her 
arrested, so as to avoid scandal. It would 
be possible, with some ingenuity, to deceive 
this woman, crafty as she may be, by offer- 
ing her protection and defenders whom she 
would not think of mistrusting.' 

Mirabeau's plan was adopted and put 
into execution by Louis xvi.'s expiring 
government with surprising ability and 
success. Montmorin, the only minister left 
who remained favourable to the king, had 
succeeded in circumventing the Count de 
La Motte to such an extent that the Count 
had accepted as his consulting barrister the 
head of the royal secret police, the advocate 
Jacques Claude Martin Marivaux, who was 
afterwards condemned to death by the 
revolutionary tribunal for performing the 
functions assigned to him at this time. 


' M. de La Motte has returned to Paris,' 
we read in Duquesnoy's Journal, under 
1790. ' He has come to renew his attacks 
on the queen. Happily he has addressed 
himself to very prudent folk, who are labour- 
ing to hinder his proceedings. There is 
reason to believe they will succeed.' La 
Motte swore by Marivaux. 

Another revolutionary group — Lameth, 
Barnave, d'Aiguillon, Menou — circled round 
the Jew Bassenge, to whom the Cardinal 
de Rohan was debtor for the Necklace. 
They invited him to dinner, and commiser- 
ated an honest merchant on being the un- 
fortunate victim of a cruel court intrigue. 
They hinted that the day of justice was at 
length about to dawn, and that the scale 
would not incline in favour of kings. They 
marked out his course, exhorting him to 
present a petition to the Jacobins to per- 
suade the National Assembly to clear him 


in the eyes of the nation. But how was 
the nation concerned in a purely private 
matter? In this way. The abbey of Saint- 
Vaast, once belonging to the Cardinal de 
Rohan, and now part of the national pro- 
perty, could no longer be subject to the 
temporary mortgage assigned by the royal 
order to Bassenge. His claim was sacred, 
and became one of the king's obligations, an 
obligation which, like the rest, ought to be 
placed under the guardianship of the nation. 
A memorial was drawn up by Tavernier. 
Menou persuaded his companions to intro- 
duce additional phrases against the queen. 
* It was proposed,' writes the Count de La 
Marck to Mercy- Argenteau, * to present 
this petition to the National Assembly, not 
to make the nation pay Bassenge — every 
one knows that is impossible — but to lead 
to a discussion in which it will be main- 
tained that the Necklace ought to be paid 
for out of the civil list, which is only an- 


other way of having the case retried. ' The 
jewellers Bohmer and Bassenge considered 
the proposition ; but this important way of 
going to work scared them ; they would 
have preferred a more discreet method, and 
they sent to the royal court the following 
note, the terms of which should be noticed : 
' People who are at the present time enjoy- 
ing a certain credit are apparently interest- 
ing themselves in Bohmer and Bassenge. 
They flatter them that they are about to be 
rescued from the extraordinary situation in 
which they find themselves, and paid in full. 
But Bohmer and Bassenge fear that their 
patrons are only wanting to serve them at 
the expense of a name for which they have 
the greatest veneration, and they will only 
put themselves in the hands of those now 
courting them after having exhausted all 
other means.' 

The court learnt through its agents that 


Jeanne was working in London at a fresh 
pamphlet, more spiteful and scandalous than 
the first. ' You may tell your advocate/ 
she wrote to her husband, * that my Lt/e 
will before long be given to the public. If 
I read it to him, he would himself see what 
a thunderbolt this work will launch at the 
heads of the monsters, the authors of my 
disgrace.' Jeanne de Valois, however, would 
be only too glad to avoid this scandal if the 
court would find the right means of per- 
suasion. ' Since the time when, by a sort 
of miracle,' she wrote herself, 'I set foot 
on this foreign land, where freedom smiles 
upon misfortune, I have done all I could to 
induce Her Majesty to believe that I was in 
possession of a correspondence the publica- 
tion of which would have the double effect 
of compromising her and minimising my 
faults. In each of my letters I repeated 
that *' since it had pleased Providence that 
I should survive that multitude of horrors ; 



since it had saved me from my own rages ; 
its intention was clearly that I should not 
perish for lack of the means of subsistence ; 
that, in the plight to which I am reduced, I 
might at least hope that the queen would 
have restored to me what the confiscation 
of my goods and effects had poured into the 
coffers of the king." ' 

Meanwhile, to her husband, who under 
Marivaux' influence was insisting that she 
should defer the printing of her new pam- 
phlet, she wrote at once : * You desire, my 
dear, that I shall not write my Life, or 
publish it, for fear of offending the govern- 
ment : learn to follow the advice of your 
defender, but try to understand also that 
I don't know why you are so much afraid. 
I am not speaking against anybody, and 
besides, this point, I am tired of telling you, 
doesn't concern you. I have much affection 
for you, but in this matter I shall follow 
my own inclination/ 


Marivaux considered that the surest 
means of stopping the pubHcation was to 
have Jeanne de Valois at Paris within 
reach. La Motte wrote asking her to 
come, insisting on it. The negotiations 
for the purchase by the court of the new 
pamphlet would be much easier there. 
Madame de La Motte hesitated. What 
about the Salpetriere ? ' What strikes me 
very forcibly,' she answered, ' is that if it 
is true that some person of rank is bent on 
my silence, for the tranquillity of Toinette, 
why don't they come where I am and make 
the proper arrangements with me ? Why 
is my presence in Paris so much desired.'^ 
The Salpetriere has not been destroyed ; 
consequently they might throw me again 
into their loathsome holes.' 

Since she refused to go to France, 
Marivaux decided that some one should go 
to her, and keep watch upon her in London, 
as her husband was being watched in 


Paris. He sought the aid of Dubu de 
Longchamp, general administrator of the 
post-office, whom she had once met at the 
house of one Mortsange, and who wrote 
to her on June 2, 1791, pretending to share 
and to approve her fears and mistrust : — 

* You have been urged to come to Paris 
at this time. I am not at all in favour 
of your coming. You must wait till M. 
de La Motte's affairs are settled, till your 
husband's hopes are changed into certainties. 
He is opposed to a scandal which would be 
dangerous without being useful. Follow 
his example, madam. Give up all hope 
of vengeance for the firm resolve to rest 
your weary head on a peaceful and stable 
soil. The time of illusions must be past. 
The time of sorrow is sure to spend itself. 
Devoted as I am to the relief of the un- 
fortunate, I shall regard it as delightful, 
madam, to be useful to M. de La Motte 
and yourself.' 




On June 10, 1791, an agent of Dubu de 
Longchamp named Bertrand left Calais, 
to assume the office of watchdog over 
Madame de La Motte, and to take care that 
the agents of the revolutionist factions, of 
Marat, Robespierre and Lameth, and of the 
Duke of Orleans, did not approach her. 
He arrived on the 13th. A horrible drama 
had just been enacted. As the result of 
proceedings taken against her by a creditor, 
an upholsterer named Mackenzie, Madame 
de La Motte was suddenly visited by a 
number of constables. In her half-frantic 
state, the vision of her past crimes and 
punishments rose suddenly before her mind : 


the horrible punishment before the steps of 
the Palais de Justice, the shameful letters 
burnt into her smoking flesh, the cells of 
the Salpetriere ; and, with a movement of 
terror, as though impelled by the force 
of Fate, she had opened the window, and 
flung herself down from the second story 
on to the pavement. Unconscious, with 
mangled limbs, she had been picked up 
by a perfumer named Warren, who lived 
opposite Lambeth Street, near Westminster 

*When I entered her room,' wrote 
Bertrand to Dubu on June 13, 1791, 
* she began to work on my feelings. She 
lifted the bedclothes so that I might see 
her injuries. There was never seen any- 
thing so horrible. Her thigh is broken 
about the middle, one leg is broken at the 
knee, and both are in splints. Deposits 
of purulent matter are forming, and the 
surgeon was obliged to make incisions in 


order to allow suppuration. Her whole 
body is dark yellow in colour, from head 
to foot.' She was in the deepest want, 
having absolutely nothing to live on. 
Eighteen months before she had received 
one hundred and seventy guineas in advance 
for her new Memoirs, on which she had 
supported life since. She was now wholly 
dependent on the charity of Mr. Warren, 
and that was beginning to wear out. 

Her condition grew worse and worse. 
*A whitish spot,' wrote Bertrand on June 
21, 'has appeared on the thigh. After a 
poultice, a considerable swelling formed, 
which burst and flooded her thigh with 
pus of a disgusting odour, and the matter 
was so abundant that five saucerfuls of it 
were thrown away. When I went in, the 
smell was unendurable, though a lot of 
brown paper had been burnt and all the 
windows were open.' 

Warren the perfumer was a decent man, 


but a little hardhearted. He reckoned 
that the sick woman was costing him a 
good deal of money, and began to be afraid 
that it would never be reimbursed. ' When 
all is said and done,' he wrote to Dubu de 
Longchamp, ' I haven't the means to con- 
tinue supporting her. To me, the duties of 
a husband and father come before those 
of friendship.' He asked Jeanne roughly 
on her bed of suffering what had become 
of her husband and the fine friends of 
whom she was always talking, but none 
of whom appeared. 'This Bertrand,' he 
said, * who never leaves your bedside, is 
one of your old lovers.' He reproached 
her with the linen she was soiling, and 
refused to pay the nurse attending her. 

In Paris, events were hurrying on. The 
general restlessness was extreme. Bertrand 
received no news from Dubu de Long- 
champ. * The sick woman,' he wrote, 
* would like to have some assistance, being 


absolutely destitute. I do all that I can 
to persuade her that her affairs are in the 
best possible condition ; but she is as much 
astonished as I am at getting no news/ 

Bertrand's mission was not merely to 
keep an eye on Madame de La Motte, but 
to prevent the appearance of her book, 
The Life of Jeanne de Saint-Rdmy de 
Valois, Countess de La Motte. Six thousand 
copies had been printed, of which four 
thousand were for the booksellers of Paris, 
and a thousand for those of London and 
Holland ; while a thousand copies of an 
English translation had also been printed. 
Bertrand opened negotiations. The publica- 
tion, though announced in the London 
journals, was delayed. Madame de La 
Motte, who was to have signed every 
copy, put it off from day to day under 
pressure from Bertrand, who announced 
that money was being sent to her. But 
the money did not come. 


Meanwhile Warren was worrying the 
patient. There were unpleasant scenes, 
and she wept bitterly. ' It is easily seen,' 
observes Bertrand, ' that it is only the fear 
of losing what she owes him that keeps him 
at all civil.' 

' I had yesterday with the patient,' wrote 
the correspondent of Dubu de Longchamp 
on July 29, ' a scene for which my courage 
was not prepared. I will tone down its 
deplorable colours for you. She told me 
that she was quite convinced I had only 
come to London to make her perish in the 
most outrageous manner; that it was to 
take from her her hard-earned bread that 
we had thought of delaying the publication 
of her work, which was her only means of 
subsistence ; that she would have gladly 
pardoned me if I had plunged a knife into 
her heart ; that all that was left to her, 
after revenging herself on you and me, was 
to end her unhappy existence as promptly 


as possible. I believe that if her strength 
had permitted, she would have accomplished 
so cruel a design. ''Judge yourself," she 
said to me, "how much faith I should 
repose in your lies. I will sign to-morrow 
the copies of my book, and don't be 
offended if I take all necessary measures 
to secure compensation for your perfidy, 
and for the lamentable plight in which 
the delay in the appearance of my work, 
due to you, has thrown me." 

* I let her have her say out,' adds 
Bertrand. * I let her cries and tears pass 
in silence. The fever came upon her at 
that moment, with a dreadful shivering. 
This is only a slight sketch of this over- 
powering scene.' 

From that moment the poor woman's 
state grew rapidly worse. On August 5 
Bertrand wrote, * The patient is nearing the 

Jeanne de Saint -R6my de Valois, 


Countess de La Motte, died on Tuesday, 
August 23, 1 79 1, at eleven o'clock in the 
evening, in frightful anguish. The night 
before, she had been seized with vomitings 
and convulsions, which never left her till 
the end. She was buried on August 26, 
in the churchyard of St Mary's, Lambeth. ^ 

Warren wrote at once to the Count de 
La Motte announcing the sad event. A 
few friends accompanied the coffin. ' I 
had her buried in Lambeth church, and 
reserved the right for her friends, if they 
are disposed to take advantage of it, to 
erect a monument over the remains of the 
most affectionate wife, sister, and friend that 
ever lived.' 

^ On page 2009 of the parish register the name is given 
as ' Jean Saint-Rymer de Valois, Countesse de La Motte.' 
' Madame de La Motte died on Tuesday after suffering a 
martyrdom. She is buried to-day.' (Note of August 
26, 1 791, signed W. Harris, to Dubu de Longchamp. 
Archives nationales^ F. 7/4445.) The Courrier de P Europe, 
published in London, announced her death on the same 
day, August 26, as also did the London Chronicle. 


The Count de La Motte made no reply. 
Warren wrote a second time, detailing the 
expenses he had incurred. The count was 
less likely to reply than ever. Warren re- 
presented to him that he was not behaving 
like a gentleman. And still La Motte 
answered nothing. 

The unfortunate Bertrand had left London 
before the death of the countess. To Dubu 
de Longchamp, who had intrusted him with 
the mission he had carried out in London, 
he wrote : * I leave this evening, August 1 9. 
I have the honour to ask you to send me 
some money to the poste restante at Calais. 
You will prolong my wretched existence. 
God knows, if you don't send me the means 
of returning, I shall have to beg my bread 
on the highway. My soul is grievously 
disturbed, as my wife can do nothing for 
me. I am leaving, trusting to Providence.' 




The Life of Jeanne de Saint-Rdmy de Valois, 
the publication of which had occupied and 
tormented the poor woman to the hour of 
death, and to which she had owed her last 
resources, was sent from London to the 
bookseller Gueffiier, on the Quai des 
Augustins in Paris. After having read the 
story of her lamentable end, he was still 
more saddened to set eyes on this dreadful 
pamphlet. The theme of it was as follows : 
Marie Antoinette had conceived an affec- 
tion for her cousin, Jeanne de Valois, from 
the day when she saw her faint under her 
windows. She had made her the con- 
fidante of her most secret thoughts. That 


was how it was that Jeanne had become 
the intermediary between her and the 
Cardinal de Rohan, the Iris messenger of 
their amours. The meetings took place 
at night, between eleven and midnight, at 
Trianon, in the hall of Venus, which 
Madame de La Motte thus describes : ' An 
elegant apartment, round in form, sur- 
mounted by a dome, is situated in the 
gardens of Petit-Trianon, on an eminence 
which you reach by a gentle slope. The 
building is surrounded by a moat, which 
the cardinal and myself used to cross by 
means of a plank thrown over it for that 
purpose. In the middle of the room stood 
a pedestal of white marble, a superb statue 
representing Apollo or Venus. In the 
corners are other statues — these are Cupids 
and Graces. The doors are of glass. You 
descend from the hall to the gardens by 
four marble steps. At the windows are 
curtains of the finest damask, spotted with 


embroidered flowers. There are tapestries, 
arm-chairs, sofas.' 

To that spot, when the king happened 
to be hunting at Rambouillet, Jeanne used 
to lead the cardinal to the queen, who 
awaited him on a couch. 

Criticism, studying the Life of Jeanne de 
Saint-Rdmy, has remarked that no hall 
existed at Trianon called the hall of 
Venus, no apartment resembling even dis- 
tantly the description given by Madame 
de La Motte. During the winter of 1784, 
when these meetings were said to have 
taken place, Marie Antoinette never went 
to Trianon. On the days mentioned, the 
king was not hunting at Rambouillet. We 
have a journal in Louis xvi.'s own hand, 
in which all his movements are precisely 
recorded. Is there any need to dwell on 
the point? The book ends with a series 
of letters in which the queen and the 
cardinal tell each other of their love. Will 


any one venture to maintain that these 
letters are authentic ? 

The court succeeded in having the books 
seized. The Count de La Motte himself 
revealed where they were warehoused. 
* Without compromising anything,' he wrote 
to the king on May 5, 1792, ' I could claim 
and get from the hands of the malevolent 
the weapon they wish to make- use of 
to-day in furtherance of their projects.' 
Laporte, controller of the civil list, bought 
the complete edition for 14,000 livres 
from the king's own funds. On May 26, 
1792, he had them thrown into the furnace 
at the Sevres porcelain manufactory, tied 
up in thirty bundles. They were burning 
for five hours. Everything was consumed. 
The municipal officers at once informed 
the National Assembly, and the Pere 
Duchesne began to fulminate against the 
intrigues of the court. Laporte was sum- 
moned to the bar of the Assembly. It j 



was declared that he had destroyed in 
the Sevres furnace the correspondence of 
Marie Antoinette with enemies of the state, 
and packets of false notes she had had 
made in London. Soon afterwards, a copy 
of the book, found at Laporte's house, was 
taken to the offices of the Committee of 
Surveillance, which, composed of strong 
'patriots,' at once got the work reprinted 
and put on sale at Garnery's. In these 
days no respectable man could read its 
pages without a feeling of nausea; but 
at that time, men's passions seasoned it 
with the spice necessary to permit its 
digestion. In the Hall of Venus, adorned 
with Cupids and Graces, behind the flower- 
embroidered curtains, on a sofa of figured 
silk inwoven with fine gold, the skirts of a 
Queen of France trailed the floor with the 
scarlet folds of a cardinal's robe : what a 
treat for the men of that day ! 

*At that moment,' write the Goncourts, 


* Madame de La Motte's libel made its 
reappearance in France. Montmorin, the 
only royalist minister left to Louis, defend- 
ing the queen one day in the council ; and 
complaining, timidly at first, to Duport 
du Tertre of the threats levelled at her, 
and of the plot to assassinate her openly 
avowed by a considerable party, and ending 
by asking his colleague if he would allow 
such a crime to be consummated, Duport 
coldly replied that he would not counten- 
ance an assassination, but that he would 
not look with the same disfavour on a trial, 
if that were suggested. **What!" cried 
Montmorin, ''you, a minister of the king, 
would consent to such an infamy ? " ** But 
what if there is no other means ? " returned 
the keeper of the seals.' 

The opportunity sought by Duport was 
about to be provided by the Count de La 
Motte, who was urging the revision of his 
trial. The turn taken by events robbed 


the king of his means of action, and the 
count escaped the influence of his advisers. 
'The course for me to pursue,' he wrote 
to Montmorin, ' reduces itself to two very- 
simple points: — (i) to place myself in a 
position to get a decision on my contumacy ; 
(2) to plead for the quashing of the decree 
that branded my wife, and to sue the 
judges and the minister who used the 
secrecy of the Bastille to lead her to her 

He wrote to the keeper of the seals : 
* A party once powerful, in order to ruin 
my wife, more weak than criminal, united 
the greatest instruments of despotism — the 
Bastille, and the judges in the pay of the 
court. The Bastille no longer exists, and 
the French people is about to choose judges 
who would blush to allow themselves to 
be led step by step into the labyrinth of 
Themis by an insolent and ferocious vizier.' 

Besides, was not special consideration 


due to the La Mottes ? ' The sentence by 
which we were condemned,' said the count, 
'was the signal for the astonishing revolu- 
tion which was brought about with so much 
facility by the corruption of the court, the 
disorder of the finances, and the tyranny 
of those who shared the public power. 
There is a Providence which delights to 
direct the destiny of mortals, and which 
causes germs destructive to the power of 
tyranny to spring from the blood of the 
innocent ! ' 

The Count de La Motte, however, pru- 
dently waited till 1792, when the Revolution 
was in full swing, to present himself at 
the Conciergerie as a prisoner, in order 
to purge himself of his contumacy. He 
was incarcerated on January 4. On the 
following night, between two and three 
o'clock, the prison caught fire. The Pere 
Duchesne hastened to inform France that 
this was an incendiary feat instigated by 


the court for the purpose of burning La 
Motte and his papers ; and Robespierre, 
Hubert, and Manuel hastened up and 
rushed into the prison. 

* Rest easy for the present/ said Manuel 
to the count, ' we are looking after you.' 

Jeanne de Valois' husband published in 
his turn a memorial in his own defence, 
when his case came before the third 
tribunal. Meanwhile a revulsion seems 
to have taken place in his soul, in which 
feelings of this sort found little lodging 
as a rule — unless perhaps this too was a 
means in his eyes of extorting money. 
However that may be, he wrote to the 
king on May 5, 1792 : * A cabal, which is 
offended at my prudence, would like to 
make a dangerous scandal out of this affair. 
The Sieur Deplane, president and judge, 
was appointed to examine me. His 
questions had no other aim than to seek 
to compromise the queen, and principally 


to find some means of bringing her before 
the court as a necessary witness to the 
facts; and the curious pubHc fell into the 
trap.' The case was remitted to the first 
court, which, on July 20, 1792, quashed 
the sentence of June i, 1786, by which 
the Count and Countess de La Motte had 
been condemned by the Parlement, * seeing 
that,' said the new judgment, ' the indictment^ 
submitted by the procurator-general to the 
quondam Parlement of Paris, on Septem- 
ber 7, 1785, is only signed at the end 
and not on each leaf, which is contrary to 
the law.' Thus the sentence was quashed 
for a technical irregularity. La Motte was 
again brought before a jury. 

Other judges were lying hungrily in wait 
for the queen. 




The capture of the Bastille on the four- 
teenth of July had opened the door to 
popular passion. Taine's idea is profoundly 
true : it was the Jacobin conquest. As 
scholarship becomes better informed, and its 
impartiality increases, the great historian's 
conception will be confirmed by fresh proofs. 
On October 6, yelling mobs streamed 
out of Paris towards Versailles and poured 
into the palace ; women, their hair matted 
with dust and sweat, screamed for the 
'entrails of the queen.' 'Madam, save 
the queen ! ' cried one of the guards, 
running to one of her waiting-women, his 
face stained with blood. Next day the 


mob dragged the royal family to Paris, 
surrounding their slow-going carriages with 
ribald jests and obscene insults. On the 
driver's seat of the coach In which the 
queen sat with her boy, the actor Beaulieu 
amused the crowd and scared the occupants 
with his mountebank s antics. The queen 
sat dry-eyed, silent, immoveable, seemingly 
lost in a dream. ' I am hungry, mamma,' 
said the little dauphin, and then the tears 

The 20th of June 1792 was a repetition 
of the October day. The royal family were 
at the Tuileries. At half-past four in the 
afternoon the cries of the mob enveloped 
the palace like rolling thunder. The 
National Guards had barely time to hurry 
the queen into the council-chamber before 
the human flood burst upon them. They 
dragged the long table in front of the queen 
and her children, whom only three feet of 
deal separated from faces crimson with rage 


and wine, clenched fists, and brandished 
pikes. ' The queen stood erect,' write the 
brothers De Goncourt, ' with Madame on 
her right, pressing close against her. The 
dauphin, his eyes wide open in a childish 
stare, was on her left. Men, women, pikes, 
knives, yells, insults, all poured in one 
torrent towards the queen. One of these 
cannibals displayed a bundle of switches, 
with the legend '' For Marie Antoinette"; 
another flourished a miniature gibbet with 
a doll swinging upon it ; another thrust 
forward under the very eyes of the queen, 
who did not blench, a dish bearing a mass 
of bleeding flesh shaped like a heart. 
Some one else flung red caps upon the heads 
of the queen and her son. Women all 
dishevelled spat their filthy jests in her 
face, to be answered in her gentle voice : 
"Have you ever seen me? Have I ever 
done you any harm ? You are mistaken : 
I am a Frenchwoman. I was so happy 


when you loved me ! " And at this sweet, 
sad voice, at this fair, sorrowful face, the 
storm was calmed, the fury sank abashed. 
Pity softened these hard hearts ; humanity 
became itself again. The squalling viragoes 
held their peace, and even felt their tears 
flow. '*They have had their fill," cried 
Santerre, shrugging. And he drew near, 
leant upon the table and jeered ; but even 
his lips closed, involuntarily, before the 
quiet, searching gaze of the queen. To 
cover his confusion the man growled : 
''Take that child's cap off," pointing to 
the dauphin : ''see how hot he is ! " This 
was the poor child who, next day, when 
the guards were called to arms, asked : 
" Mamma, is it yesterday again ? " " They 
will murder me," said the queen a little 
later : " what will become of my children ? " ' 
Under the palace windows disgusting 
prints were being hawked about, and 
pamphlets written against her in mud from 


the gutters. The terrace of the Feuillants 
had been thrown open to the people by the 
Assembly, and you may be sure they made 
good use of it ! From morning to night 
the talk there was so horrible that the 
queen was twice obliged to withdraw. 
Sometimes — such was her spirit — she 
wished to descend to the garden and speak 
to the people : * I will tell them that I love 
them, and that I am a Frenchwoman. Not 
love the French! — I, the mother of a 
dauphin ! * But her illusions were soon 
dispelled : calumny had struck its roots too 
deep. What availed the voice of one lonely 
woman against the tempest ? 

On August lo Louis xvi. and his family, 
terrified at the popular rising, took refuge 
in the bosom of the Assembly. ' I have 
come here,' said the king, 'to prevent a 
great crime.' He placed himself at the 
president's left, and Marie Antoinette had 
made the dauphin sit by her side. * Some 


one take him up to the president,' cried a 
voice : * he belongs to the nation. The 
Austrian woman is unworthy of his con- 
fidence ! ' And an usher seized the child, 
weeping with terror and clinging to his 
mother's skirts. In the night the king and 
queen proceeded to the Feuillants. By the 
light of candles stuck on the muzzles of 
muskets, their feeble rays glinting on the 
blood-stained steel of pikes, the queen 
walked slowly between the close ranks of 
the crowd, whence rose the refrain — 

' Madame Veto avait promis 
De'faire ^gorger tout Paris.' 

The sentinels had much ado to hold the 
throng back. When one of the queen's 
women appeared at the door of the cells 
of the ancient convent, which had been 
hastily furnished, she was driven back by 
yells. Beneath the windows arose cries of 
' Death to the queen ! ' * Every time that I 


glanced at this grating,' said a certain 
Dufour, * I thought I was at the menagerie 
watching the rage of the wild beasts when 
some one comes before their bars ! ' Even 
when the queen had retired to rest, cries of 
* Fling us her head ! ' reached her. 

On August 12 the Legislative Assembly, 
under the influence of the Jacobins, decided 
to leave the Commune of Paris to settle 
on the place where the king was to live, 
and to arrange the details of his existence. 
Marie Antoinette was now in good hands, 
forsooth, which were going to take special 
care of her. 

On August 13, 1792, the queen, with her 
husband, her children, Madame Elizabeth, 
and the Princess de Lamballe, was trans- 
ferred to the smaller tower of the Temple. 
But on the 19th two commissioners 
from the municipality were ordered to 
proceed to the removal of all persons not 
belonging to the * Capet family.' Manuel 


waxed facetious on the embarrassing state 
inseparable from royalty. ' I will give you,' 
he said, ' some women of my acquaintance 
to serve you.' The queen replied that she 
needed no one, as she and her sister-in-law 
would assist each other. 

'Very well, madam,' said the man; 'you 
have only to serve yourself : that will save 
you the trouble of choosing.' 

Attendants were placed over Marie 
Antoinette to spy upon her from night 
till morning and from morning till night. 
* Not a movement, not a word, not a glance,' 
say the Goncourts, *but had its witnesses 
and informers! Not a moment had she 
alone or with her family. There were 
always these men playing the spy upon her 
eyes, her lips, her silence ! Always these 
men, pursuing her even into her bed- 
chamber when she slipped away to change 
her dress ! Even at night, in the anteroom 
where Madame de Lamballe had lately 


slept, the municipal guards kept watch, 
and the queen was spied on in her very 

Marseillais had been placed at all the 
landings. When the queen ascended from 
the garden, they sang gaily — 

' Madame a sa tour monte, 
Ne salt quand descendra.' 

This walk in the garden, which she imposed 
on herself for the sake of her children's 
health, was a martyrdom. At the foot of 
the tower the two gaolers, Risbey and 
Rocher, blew the smoke of their pipes in 
her face, while the municipal guards, riding 
cock-horse on chairs set in a circle, laughed 
at the grimaces she made at the smell of 
the smoke. They watched the curling 
wreaths as they played about her abundant 
fair locks. In the garden the soldiers had 
orders to wear their hats ostentatiously 
before her. The gunners started to dance 


in a ring, singing the * (^a ira ! ' and the 
labourers working at the walls of the 
enclosure said openly that they would prefer 
to use their tools in breaking her head. 

The Commune had given very explicit 
instructions. Persons entering the queen's 
presence were to keep their hats on. * I 
saw in the queen's apartment,' writes 
Lepitre, *a stonecutter named Mercereau, 
in the filthiest apparel, lying at full length 
on a damask sofa where the queen usually 
sat, and he justified himself by invoking 
the principle of equality. The municipal 
guards used systematically to loll in arm- 
chairs before the fireplace, resting their feet 
on the andirons so as terrender it impossible 
for the princesses to warm themselves.' 

Lampoons of the most disgusting kind, 
slanders, the pamphlets of Boussenard, 
the Mdnage royale en d^route, the Tentation 
cTAntoine et son cochon, were cried at the foot 
of the walls. ' Worst of all these outrages 



on the queen was the shameful outrage 
which no people nor age had yet ventured 
against the modesty of a woman : there was 
no lavatory for the princesses except that 
of the town guards and the soldiers.' 

And yet, while she was with her children 
life seemed endurable. She used to be 
present at the supper of her son. When it 
happened that the guards had gone away 
for a moment she hastily, and in a whisper, 
made the boy repeat a prayer. Then she put 
him to bed, and sat watching him until nine 
o'clock. Then the king's supper was served, 
and after that she returned to the bedside 
of the child till a late hour of the night. 

The queen had always been fond of 
embroidery, and it formed a distraction for 
these long hours. Some one no doubt 
noticed that it gave her too much pleasure, 
for an order from the municipality put an 
end to the needlework. Her embroidery, 
said the Commune, concealed a correspond- 


ence in hieroglyphics. Deprived of her 
embroidery, Marie Antoinette devoted 
herself to darning, the need of which was 
very manifest. The dauphin slept in 
tattered sheets ; and she mended the 
king's coat while he was in bed. 

The queen, like her sister-in-law and her 
daughter, was dressed in the morning in 
white pique, and their heads were covered 
with white lawn. At noon they put on 
their only finery : a garment of tulle, with 
little flowers on a brown ground. 

On September 22 the Republic was 
proclaimed. A few days afterwards the 
prisoner received some linen that had been 
previously ordered for her. The dress- 
makers had worked her monogram upon it, 
surmounted by the royal crown ; and the 
republican government gave themselves the 
pleasure of compelling the queen to unpick 
with her own hands the crowns embroidered 
upon her linen. 


* The queen having been sick and taken 
no food,' says Turgy, ' sent to ask me to 
have a broth prepared for supper. Just as 
I handed it to her, she learned that the 
woman Tison— placed in her prison as 
wardress — was likewise indisposed. She 
ordered the broth to be taken to her. I 
then asked one of the guard to take me 
to the kitchen to procure another portion. 
Not one of them would accompany me.' 
The queen, ill as she was, went supperless 
to bed. 

This woman Tison was a decoy, who 
insinuated herself into the queen's confid- 
ence only to betray her. Her accusations 
brought ruin upon those whose sympathies 
were moved by the prisoners' unhappy 
plight. But nature had its revenge. One 
day the woman fell at the queen's feet, 
imploring her pardon. She was frantic 
with remorse. She was carried away 
screaming to a madhouse. And Marie 



Antoinette, who had learned of her tale- 
bearing and its terrible consequences, com- 
passionately inquired after her welfare. 

The family were at dinner on September 
3, when they were interrupted by the noise 
to which they were becoming accustomed — 
the clamour of the mob. People cried out 
for the queen to come to the window. The 
unhappy woman was going there when one 
of the guard named Menessier suddenly 
threw himself in front of her, pushed her 
back, and drew the curtains. But Louis 
XVI., since his people asked for him, was 
ready to appear before them. The curtains 
were thrown back. The queen uttered no 
cry, she did not faint ; but her eyes were 
fixed in a dreadful stare — the wild stare of 
a madwoman. At the end of a pike they 
were presenting to her the ghastly head 
of the Princess de Lamballe. The people 
wanted her to embrace her friend for the 
last time. *Two individuals,' writes the 


painter Daujon, who chanced to be then at 
the foot of the tower, 'were dragging by 
the legs a headless body, nude, its back to 
the ground, its stomach opened as high as 
the breast. At the foot of the tower the 
corpse was ostentatiously displayed, and 
the limbs were arranged with a sort of art, 
and a callousness that opens a wide field 
for the meditation of the philosopher.' 

The gentle, beautiful Princess de Lam- 
balle, who, as we have seen, had in her 
tender, thoughtless pity visited Madame 
de La Motte at the Salpetriere, had been 
massacred with hammers at the moment 
when her gaolers liberated her from the 
prison of La Force. Her beautiful body 
suffered infamous mutilations. The head 
was severed from the trunk and borne by 
the rabble to a wine-merchant's. It was 
placed there upon his counter, with little 
glasses ranged all round. The fair ringlets, 
matted with blood, fell into the poor glazed 


staring eyes ; the features were drawn ; the 
flesh was wan and flaccid, the skin marked 
with green spots of decomposing blood, — 
and the light sparkled in the little glasses, 
forming a gay aureole with the scintillation 
of the golden liquor. 

One man had taken the head, another 
from the shattered breast had ripped the 
heart. This he ate while it was still raw 
and throbbing. It was, he said, a dainty, ifu 
and delicious morsel. This relish for a 
fresh and palpitating heart was so much to 
the taste of the day that in the evening 
several gallant fellows, in diflerent parts of 
the capital, each boasted of having been the 
hero of the adventure, and one of them, 
to illustrate his story, called admiring at- 
tention to his moustaches still red with 

Louis was transferred on September 30 
from the small tower to the large tower 
of the Temple, and was there joined on 


October 26 by his wife and sister, Madame 

On the night of January 20, 1793, Madame 
heard her mother, who had not undressed, 
shaking in her bed all night long from cold 
and grief. Louis had just been condemned 
to death. Throughout the whole course 
of the trial the Convention had refused 
to the king the consolation and support 
of seeing his wife and children ; but it 
shrank from forbidding a last embrace 
before the execution. The closing inter- 
view was to take place in the dining-room. 
The queen entered holding her son by 
the hand. She wished to draw the king 
towards her own room. 'No,' said the 
king, ' I may only see you here.' The 
municipal guards stood pressing their faces 
against the glass door, filling their eyes 
with the sight of ' perhaps the greatest 
sorrow,' say the Goncourts, ' with which 
God has ever afflicted the gaze of men.' 


All bent forward : the king was blessing 
his wife and sister and children. The 
dauphin was lifting up his tiny hand, and 
swearing, at his father's bidding, to pardon 
those who were putting that father to 
death.' Then silence. Nothing was pos- 
sible now but sobs. 

Before he died the king laid aside his 
wedding ring, a seal, and a packet of hair 
for his wife. The Convention feared that 
objects of this nature in the hands of an 
imprisoned woman might compromise the 
destiny of the Revolution, and the memorials 
of the dead husband were not handed to 
his wife. But Toulan, one of the guards, 
touched by her anguish, purloined the 
articles, and Marie Antoinette was able to 
press them to her heart. Toulan was 

On the day of the king's execution the 
queen asked for mourning of the simplest 
kind, the costume of the people — 'a mantle 


of black taffety, a black neckerchief and 
skirt, a pair of black gloves, and two caps 
of black taffety.' She asked at the same 
time for a pair of sheets and a quilted 
coverlet. But the Convention thought 
that sheets and a quilt were too luxurious 
for a lady in the month of January. They 
granted the mourning, but refused the 

*The widow wore mourning which she 
owed to the generosity of the republic. 
She had on her head a washerwoman's cap, 
with weepers falling upon her shoulders. 
A black veil was between the weepers and 
her hair. A large white fichu was crossed 
over her neck and fastened with a blunt 
pin. A little black shawl edged with white 
was knotted at the bodice of her black 
dress. On her brow and down her temples 
strayed wisps of hair that escaped from 
her cap, and the hair was blanching fast. 
Her mien was proud still, and her eyebrows 



had not lowered their imperial arch. Tears 
had reddened her eyelids, tears had swollen 
her eyes. Her look had lost its radiance 
for a hard, fixed stcire. The blue of her 
eyes no longer had its flashing brilliance, 
its caressing softness ; it was glassy, cold, 
almost fierce. The beautiful, aquiline con- 
tour of her nose was become a bony ridge, 
and agony seemed to have pinched the 
nostrils once quivering with youth.' 

This woman, who but lately had seen the 
world At her feet in one emulation of flattery 
and deference, who had known every form 
of splendour, now in her cold and narrow 
prison possessed but one comfort and stay 
— we cannot say a joy — her children. The 
revolutionary government thought that this 
was too much. The queen, Madame, and 
Madame Elizabeth were awakened by the 
sound of opening gratings : it was the 
guards coming to inform Marie Antoinette 
of the new decree of the Committee of 


Public Safety, sanctioned by the Conven- 
tion : ' The Committee decrees that the 
son Capet shall be separated from his 
mother.' At first the queen did not under- 
stand. Then suddenly she flung herself 
upon her son with the cry of a wild creature. 
* Kill me first! ' she cried. The men replied 
that if she did not loose the child it was not 
she they would kill, but the little one : and 
the boy was in their hands. 

At last she was utterly broken : was she 
still alive? Robespierre thought that she 
was as yet only too much alive. * The 
punishment of a tyrant,' he cried, on April 
lo, 1793, in the Convention, * obtained after 
so much hateful discussion ' (the great citizen 
thought that the forms of trial had been 
too closely observed)— ' shall this be the 
only homage we have rendered to liberty 
and equality ? ' The death of Marie An- 
toinette was destined to be a not less 
appreciable homage to them. * This death,' 


said Robespierre in conclusion, ' shall revive 
in all hearts a holy antipathy for royalty, 
and give a new force to public spirit.' 

On August I the Committee of Public 
Safety submitted to the Convention the 
following decree : * Marie Antoinette is re- 
mitted to the extraordinary tribunal : she 
will be transferred immediately to the Con- 

At one o'clock next morning the queen 
was awakened. As she left the tower in 
all haste without stooping, she struck her 
head against the grating. 
* Have you hurt yourself? ' 
' Oh no ! nothing can hurt me now ! ' 
Twenty gendarmes escorted the prisoner 
through the heavy, stifling night air. She 
arrived at the Conciergerie at two o'clock 
in the morning. The Pere Duchesne was 
beside itself with joy. * I bent my ear 
to the grating,' it wrote, *to hear her 
groans. ''And so I shall never see," she 


said, ''the ruin of Paris which I had been 
so long preparing ; I shall never swim in 
her blood."' 

At the Conciergerie the queen was in 
want of everything. She had no change of 
linen, and the wardress, Madame Richard, 
dared not supply her with any, in spite of 
the pity which had touched her heart. The 
gendarmes were now installed in her room 
from morning till night, and there they in- 
dulged freely in their coarse soldier's talk 
and smoked their huge pipes. At night 
the queen's eyes were red and swollen 
with the smoke, her head was heavy with 
pain. Sometimes one of the gendarmes 
would notice it and drop his pipe. 

At the Temple she had been deprived 
of her embroidery : here even her needles 
and thread were taken from her. How 
was she to pass the long, doleful hours ? 
Struck with a presentiment of her approach- 
ing end, she thought of employing her 


fingers to leave a little memento to her 
children. And she began to pick coarse 
threads from a piece of tapestry over which 
wall-paper, now rotted by the damp, had 
been hung. These threads she plaited with 
her patient hands, and succeeded in making 
a sort of lace. She had no light. * I used 
to prolong my duties as much as I could in 
the evening,' said Rosalie Lamorliere, her 
maidservant, 'so that my mistress might 
remain a little longer in solitude and ob- 
scurity.' The dampness of the room was 
frightful. Bault, the warder, had a piece of 
old tapestry nailed to the wall in order that 
the queen's bed might thus be protected to 
some extent from the oozings. The members 
of the Committee of Public Safety were in- 
dignant at this mark of sympathy, and Bault 
had to invent a falsehood, and say that his 
object was to prevent the queen from hear- 
ing scraps of conversation from the other 
room. On August 19 Michonis, admini- 


strator of police, asked the municipal officers 
composing the guard at the Temple to send 
in four chemises and a pair of shoes of which 
the queen had urgent need. * These four 
miserable garments,' write the Goncourts, 
* soon reduced to three, were only delivered 
to the queen at intervals of ten days. She 
had only two dresses, which she put on alter- 
nately. H er poor black dress, her poor white 
dress, both rotted by the moisture of her room 

We must pause here : words fail us.' 

The queen had become extremely thin. 
She was altered beyond recognition. The 
common folk who saw her were struck with 
respect and pity. The warders placed in 
charge of her, the servants called to wait 
upon her, were touched to the bottom of 
their hearts by the sight of grief so nobly 
borne. Market-women brought her fruits : 
one a melon ' for her dear queen,' another 
a basket of peaches — heroines all, know- 
ing that for melon and peaches they were 


risking death. With the complicity of the 
warders the fruits arrived at their destina- 
tion. Attempts were made to effect the 
queen's escape, at first from the Temple, 
afterwards from the Conciergerie. The 
first, directed by Toulan, almost succeeded ; 
but at the last moment it became evident 
that the children would not be able to 
follow their mother. 'We have cherished 
a fine dream,' wrote the queen to Jarjayes, 
'that is all. The interests of my son are 
all that I look to ; and, whatever happiness 
I myself might have experienced in being 
out of this, I cannot consent to be separated 
from him. Be sure that I am conscious of 
the goodness of your reasons so far as my 
own interests are concerned, and know that 
this opportunity will never offer itself again, 
but I should never have a moment's joy if 
I left my children, and the thought leaves 
not a shadow of regret.' At the Concier- 
gerie the plan of escape seemed easy of 



execution, but the two gendarmes who 
formed the guard would have had to be 
killed. The queen was enduring a mar- 
tyrdom, but the death of two men seemed 
to her too high a price to pay for liberty. 

By this time the queen's fate had been 
decided. In vain was Madame de Stael, in 
London, publishing her eloquent appeals to 
justice and pity. ' To excite the multitude,' 
she wrote, ' it was incessantly repeated that 
the queen was an enemy of the French, 
and to this accusation the most ferocious 
forms were given. Say, you that accuse 
her, what blood, what tears she has ever 
caused to flow? In those ancient prisons 
that you have opened, have you found one 
single victim who charged Marie Antoinette 
with his fate ? No queen, during the time 
of her greatest power, has ever known such 
open calumny, and the more certain men 
were that she would not punish, the more 
they multiplied their insults. We know 


that she has been the butt of innumerable 
shafts of ingratitude, of thousands of lam- 
poons, of revolting lawsuits, and we look 
in vain for the least sign of a vengeful 
action. It is true, then, that she has done 
no ill to a single soul, she who is suffering 
torments unheard-of.' 

Of what avail were words so true and 
simple.'* The Pere Duchesne had greater 
authority than Madame de Stael. 

It was Carrier, the hero of Nantes, who 
at the height of the struggles between the 
Montagne and the Gironde had created the 
tribunal to which Marie Antoinette had 
been remitted. The work was worthy of 
its author. The juries, nominated by the 
Convention, were salaried officials who were 
bound to express their opinion severally 
in open court. They knew that if their 
verdict were not approved they would be 
guillotined. That was what the men of 
the Revolution called the independence of 


the magistrature. 'It was only with the 
proviso that the jurors should give their 
verdict openly that the Friends of Liberty 
agreed to the presence of jurors in this 
tribunal,' writes Lamarque. Danton clearly 
indicated the purpose of the tribunal in a 
speech to the Assembly : * This tribunal 
is to serve as a supreme court for the 
vengeance of the people.' When through 
a long course of months heads fell by 
thousands, Danton regarded the tribunal 
as serving its intention perfectly. But one 
day the same court decided that Danton 
himself should be guillotined, and he forth- 
with declared : * It was I that established 
this tribunal ; but not that it should be the 
scourge of humanity.' Anecdotes of this 
sort are numerous, and would give to the 
Revolution a charming air of drollery if 
among them one did not wade in pools of 

The law relating to suspects was voted 


on September 16, 1793. The number of 
judges was then increased to sixteen, that 
of the jurymen to sixty. The list of can- 
didates presented by Vouland was adopted 
by the Convention without discussion. 

* Almost all,' said Gauthier to the Jacobins, 

* have been chosen among the Jacobins, and 
of them we are sure.' An admirable court 
for the trial of the queen ! The former 
president, Montane, had been thrown into 
prison because he had sought, it was said, to 
get Charlotte Corday acknowledged as mad. 

The hero of the tribunal was the public 
prosecutor Fouquier-Tinville. When the 
royal power was at its height, he was dis- 
tinguished by an ardent zeal for the glory 
of the king, composing in his honour a 
number of ballads and occasional verses. 
He had a pretty wit. Madame de Saint- 
Servan happened to be paralysed in con- 
sequence of a fall, and could not speak. 

* It is not her tongue that we want,' cried 


the prosecutor by a happy inspiration ; ' it 
is her head that we want.' She was 
guillotined. * Robespierre,' says Mercier, 
'wanted to meet a man at once fiendish 
and docile, one of those men who are 
proud to become the lackeys of tyranny, 
and to whom crimes cost nothing ; he met 
Fouquier-Tinville. ' 

He was worthily seconded by the dele- 
gates of the Commune, Pache, mayor of 
Paris; Chaumette, a procurator; Hebert, 
the procurator's deputy : names to which, sad 
to relate, the name of the illustrious Louis 
David has to be added. The crime com- 
mitted by these men and their agents is 
too horrible for words. To corrupt a child 
to the destruction of his health, and then 
to use his corruption as a means of abomin- 
able outrage upon his mother ; not satisfied 
with causing her to be insulted by her son, 
a child of eight, brutalised by beatings and 
brandy, but to repeat the atrocious calumny 


in open court and make use of it, after her 
head had fallen, in the attempt to blacken 
the victim's reputation : such things, that 
seem humanly impossible, were actually 
committed. The official reports of the 
horrible cross-examination at the Temple 
are preserved in the National Archives. 
*The young prince,' writes Daujon, who 
acted as clerk, ' was seated in a large chair, 
swinging his little legs, which did not touch 
the floor.' Did he understand the words 
put into his mouth? 'Chaumette,' said 
the dauphin's sister, a girl of fifteen, 
' questioned me on dreadful things of which 
my mother and aunt were accused. I was 
overcome by such horror, and so indignant, 
that, in spite of all the fear I felt, I could 
not help saying it was infamous. In spite 
of my tears, they persisted in their questions. 
There were things I did not understand, 
but what I did understand was so horrible 
that I wept with indignation.' 


The trial was fixed for the 15th of 
October. Two official counsel for the 
defence had been appointed by Hermann, 
the president, but only on the evening 
before ; and one of them, Chauveau- 
Lagarde, was in the country. There was 
an enormous mass of material to digest, 
and by the advice of her counsel the queen 
requested a delay of three days for that 
purpose. Her letter was flung into the 
waste-paper basket. The trial commenced 

' in fact on October 15, at eight o'clock in 
the morning, and continued without inter- 
ruption until four o'clock next morning. 
Except for one brief interval it lasted thus 

' for nearly twenty hours. And the queen 
had arrived exhausted, physically by months 
of privation, mentally by her woes : who 
would not have been overwhelmed by such 
tortures ? To-day we see writers, com- 
fortably settled in their armchairs, their 
feet on the fender, well-salaried professors. 


in all the dignity of office, holding forth 
on the attitude of Marie Antoinette before 
her judges ; to their way of thinking, she 
showed too little pride, too unsovereign- 
like a demeanour. ' One had to be present 
and watch every detail of this famous trial,' 
said Chauveau-Lagarde, ' to have a just 
idea of the splendid character the queen 
there displayed.' 

She came in her mourning dress. She 
had done her best with the few rags left 
to her, and had piled up her hair — her poor 
blanched hair — with studied care : not 
through pride, but disdaining to move the 
populace by the sight of her misery. 

Hermann and Fouquier-Tinville accused 
Marie Antoinette of desiring to remount 
to the throne upon the corpses of the 
patriots. She replied : ' I have never 
desired aught but the welfare of France ; 
nothing but that she be happy ; and if she 
is so, I shall be content.' An ordeal lasting 


twenty hours ! Sick, without food or rest, 
the queen had to put a constraint upon 
herself, master herself, never for an instant 
lose her self-control — to steel her failing 
nerves, to command her countenance and 
vanquish nature. As the spectators were 
continually asking her to rise from her 
seat so that they might see her better : 
*Will the people soon be tired of my 
fatigue ? ' she murmured, in exhaustion. 

The witnesses were heard. Hebert 
brought forward the filthy stories he had 
concocted in collaboration with Pache, 
Chaumette, and David. Short, slight, and 
well-trimmed, with fair hair and a mild 
countenance, he was editor of the Pere 
Duchesne, and at this moment the most 
influential member of the Commune. He 
had married a nun of the Assomption- 
Saint-Honore, a charming woman. Her 
drawing-room was a brilliant centre of wit. 
While insulting the aristocrats, Hebert 


envied their refinement and distinction, 
and tried to copy them. 

The queen let this flood of filth pass in 
silence. Hebert reeled off his tale in his 
suavest tones, with delicate inflections and 
carefully chosen language. The queen 
stood erect, her eyes fixed, her head stiff, 
not a muscle of her face contracting. 

It was a memorable moment. Born in 
calumny, nourished on calumny, glorified 
even to this day by calumny, the Re- 
volution could not but give to calumny 
dimensions which had never thitherto 
been attained, which have never been 
attained since, and which seemed unimagin- 

' I was going,' says Moelle, a member of 
the Commune, ' to try to prove the falseness 
of Hebert's accusation, by mentioning a 
circumstance of the rules of the Temple 
and the means of surveillance practised 
there, when Fouquier-Tinville, who divined 


my intention, sharply interrupted me with 
the request to say plain "yes " or **no." ' 

Fouquier delivered his address for the 
prosecution. * Not content, in concert with 
the brothers of Louis Capet and the in- 
famous and execrable Calonne, then finance 
minister, with having squandered in a 
frightful manner the finances of France, 
the fruit of the people's sweat, in order to 
satisfy her ill-regulated pleasures and pay 
the agents of her criminal intrigues ' . . . 
*at the same time that she was encourag- 
ing the Swiss to make their cartridges, in 
order to excite them still further she took 
some cartridges and bit them ' . . . * finally, 
immoral in every conceivable way, a second 
Agrippina, she is so wicked and so familiar 
with every crime that, forgetting her voca- 
tion as mother and the limits prescribed by 
the laws of nature, the widow Capet has 
not shrunk from indulging with Louis Capet, 
her son, by the confession of the latter him- 


self, in abominations the mere idea and 
name of which make us shudder with 
horror.' Such were some of his sentences. 

The queen still ignoring the foul charges, 
one of the jury, exasperated by such dignity, 
directly questioned her : * If I have not 
replied,' she said, * it is because nature 
refuses to answer such an accusation made 
against a mother ; I appeal to all the 
mothers here present ! ' 

Her voice rang out, and for the first time 
in the sight of the audience tears flowed 
down her cheeks. * Before this sublime 
cry,' say the brothers Humbert, who were 
among the audience, ' a magnetic current 
ran through the hall. The tricoteuses 
(knitters) were touched in spite of them- 
selves, and were all but applauding.' 
Piercing cries were heard ; women fainted 
and had to be carried out. The harsh, 
nasal voice of Hermann threatened to have 
the hall cleared. 


At midnight the president said to the 
advocates : * In a quarter of an hour the 
prt)ceedings will terminate : prepare your 
defence.' What could the defence be in 
these conditions? The two advocates sur- 
passed themselves. They spoke with 
emotion and courage. Scarcely had they 
finished when by order of the members 
of the Committee of Public Safety present 
\^ they were both arrested. De Shze, one of 
the king's defenders, had been at La Force 
since October 20 ; the other, Malesherbes, 
was guillotined. Fouquier demanded the 
head of Chauveau-Lagarde. The pleadings 
were not allowed to be published, and a 
garbled account of them appeared in Le 

As she left the court the queen gave to 
Tron9on-Ducoudray, the second of her 
advocates, a lock of hair and some earrings, 
begging him to give them to M. de Jarjayes 
as a memento. The Committee confiscated 


these articles and put M. de Jarjayes under 

Marie Antoinette was unanimously con- 
demned to death. The jurors gave their 
verdict publicly, and each knew that if he 
was so misguided as to declare for her 
innocence he would himself be guillotined. 

The queen heard the sentence unmoved. 
She came down from her bench with daunt- 
less brow, and lifted the rail herself. She 
returned to the Conciergerie at half-past 
four in the morning. For the first time 
in sixty days she obtained a torch, and 
some ink and paper. What must her 
feelings have been ! ' During this halt at 
the foot of the scaffold,' as she said, 
she wrote to her sister-in-law, Madame 
Elizabeth, the beautiful letter, so calm and 
elevated in style, which after more than 
a century draws tears of admiration and 
respect. She gave it to Bault the warder. 
Poor woman ! she thought that these few 


words of a dying sister to a sister her- 
self destined to death would reach her. 
Fouquier-Tinville seized the letter, and it 
was discovered in the false bottom of a 
drawer under a mattress of Robespierre's, 
along with costly books and pictures which 
this amateur of enlightened tastes had appro- 
priated from those he had done to death. 

The sun was shining at eight o'clock when 
Marie Antoinette prepared to dress for her 
journey to the scaffold. She went into the 
narrow passage between her bed of sacking 
and the wall, herself laid out her chemise, 
bent down, and loosened her dress, to 
change her linen for the last time. 
Suddenly she paused. The gendarme in 
attendance had approached and, with his 
elbows on the pillow and his head in his 
hands, was watching her with the greatest 
interest. * Her Majesty,' says Rosalie 
Lamorliere, her servant, ' replaced her wrap 
upon her shoulders, and with great gentle- 


ness said to the young man : *' In the name 
of decency, sir, allow me to change my linen 
without witnesses." ** I cannot consent to 
it,'* answered the gendarme brusquely; '*my 
orders are to keep my eye on all your move- 
ments." ' 

What a scene ! A gendarme lying flat 
on the bed, following with curious and 
prurient gaze the dressing of a queen for 
her execution ! 

* The distress the brutality of this gen- 
darme caused me,' says Rosalie Lamorliere, 
'prevented my noticing whether the queen 
still had the medallion of M. the Dauphin, 
but I could very well see that she carefully 
rolled up her poor soiled chemise. She 
fastened it in one of her sleeves as in a 
sheath, and then pressed it into a space 
she caught sight of between the old wall- 
hanging and the wall.' 

In vain she asked that her hands might 
not be bound on the tumbril : they were 



tied together with such force that the cure 
Girard, to ease her, had to press his hand 
on her left arm during the ride. The 
tumbril advanced slowly. Marie Antoinette 
wore a white skirt falling over a black 
petticoat, a sort of white night-vest, a 
ribbon tied round the wrist, a cap of 
white linen, like that of the women of the 
people, with a black ribbon. She had 
vainly besought that she might go to 
execution bareheaded. Her white hair 
was cut close under her cap. She was 
pale, but had two hectic spots upon her 
cheeks. Her eyes were bloodshot, her 
eyelashes stiff and motionless. In the 
Rue Saint- Honore the cart stopped for 
a moment, and a child, lifted up in his 
mother's arms, blew her a kiss, and then 
clapped his little hands gleefully. The 
queen responded with a smile, and wept. 
These were the only tears she shed during 
her passage to the scaffold. 


J..t.r.;-f ^. .^^./. .,^/^,.,e//. .y?^- 

^^- j^-;:,.. 




'She mounted it with bravado,' said the 
journals next day, with an * insolent ' air of 
tranquillity. She set her dress in order for 
the execution herself. 

Citizen Lapierre, a good patriot, saw the 
execution, and describes it in bad spelling 
and picturesque terms : * Marie Antoinette, 
the hussy, made as fine an end as the hog 
of Godille our pork-butcher. She showed 
wonderful firmness on the scaffold and all 
along the Rue Saint-Honore ; in fact, she 
went right across Paris staring at the 
people with scorn and disdain ; but where- 
ever she passed the true sansculottes never 
ceased to cry : ** Long live the Republic 
and down with tyranny ! " The hussy had 
the strength of mind to go to the scaffold 
without blenching ; but when she saw the 
medicine actually before her eyes she fell 
down, done for. But all the same, they 
gave her valets-de-chambre and perruquiers 
to make her toilette, and though she had 


no beard they nevertheless gave her a 
trimming, and though women don't have 
them, that doesn't prevent us from shaving 
them well' 

Hubert, in the Pere Duchesne, celebrated 
in lyric style the event of which he was so 
proud to have been the principal author : 
* The greatest of all the joys of the Pere 
Duchesne was to see with its own eyes the 
head of the Veto female separated from its 
goose neck.' 

And the same day, in execution of the 
decree passed by the Convention, on the 
motion of Barere, the mortal remains of 
the eldest son of Marie Antoinette, the 
first dauphin, were removed from their 
tomb at Saint-Denis and shockingly pro- 

Nothing had been neglected, as we have 
seen. The t^te of October was complete : 
*in every way successful,' as our chroniclers 
would say. 


Robespierre proclaimed that the death 
of Marie Antoinette would be a token of 
homage to liberty and equality ; and those 
two great principles thus received, on 
October 16, 1793, a striking tribute. 




Exiled to his abbey of the Chaise- Dieu 
after his acquittal by the Parlement, Prince 
Louis de Rohan had there won the affection 
of the monks and edified the people 
round. The work of an incendiary having 
threatened the town with a general con- 
flagration in July 1786, the cardinal was 
one of the first to assist in extinguishing 
the flames, along with his brother, the 
Admiral de Guemen6e, who was then living 
with him. When the flames had been 
conquered, the monks of the abbey carried 
the head of St. Robert in procession to 
the scene of the disaster, and the cardinal 
did not hesitate to kneel before the relic, 


in the mud and water. The worthy in- 
habitants, says a contemporary writer, were 
moved to enthusiasm and admiration. 

In September 1786, Louis de Rohan got 
permission to leave the Abbey of the 
Chaise- Dieu for that of Marmoutiers near 
Tours. On August 8, 1787, he went to 
live in the Abbey of St. Benoit-sur- Loire. 
He had kept up a correspondence with 
Maitre Target, who had so devotedly de- 
fended him, and on December 1 5 he wrote 
to him the following letter, apropos of 
a bereavement the famous advocate had 
recently suffered — a letter in which his 
kindliness and generosity are well revealed : 

* It seems to me, sir, that sorrows make 
still more sensitive the souls that injustice 
has not succeeded in hardening. I con- 
fess that mine has retained that delicious 
source of happiness. And if I had lost this 
sensibility, I should recover it all when 
your heart expresses its anguish. All your 


causes of sorrow are intensified by the 
sight of the difficulties of the children of 
the lady you mourn. I can assist for a 
time in the education of the boy, whose 
sight you tell me is very weak, who is pre- 
paring for the Church, and whom you pro- 
bably intend to continue his studies. I will 
send him, for each of the years '88, '89, 
and '90, three hundred livres a year, and 
then we shall see. It is very pleasant to 
me to think that I can do something that 
will be agreeable to you. I only wish I 
could do more for the child who is so 
dear to you. 

' You know my feelings of friendship and 
attachment for you. I will end now there- 
fore with the words vale ! vale I 

' P,S. You ask after my health. It is 
improving, but slowly. May yours with- 
stand all the sorrows of your heart.' 

On December 24, 1788, the royal order 
by which Rohan had been exiled was re- 


yoked. He was at liberty to return to 
Saverne, and stopped at Mlitzig in Alsace, 
a place adjacent to his residence, where 
the people had organised fetes in his 
honour. At three o'clock in the afternoon, 
the town-clerk, at the head of a detach- 
ment of dragoons in uniform, superbly 
equipped, and composed of the dlite of the 
citizens, led his troops, sabre in hand, along 
the Dorlisheim Road, lining both sides 
of the way. At four o'clock the cardinal 
appeared. The clerk delivered an address ; 
children with curled hair presented Rohan 
with nosegays. The crowd had assembled 
from all parts of the district. Near the great 
bridge, the Jews, two hundred in number, 
clothed all in black, were ranged in line, 
their rabbi at their head. The rabbi made 
a speech, to which the cardinal replied that 
he was delighted to see them again ; where- 
upon the Jews indulged in demonstrations 
of 'the most lively and unfeigned joy.' At . 


the gates of the town all the clergy were 
assembled, with crosses and banners — 
parish priests and higher ecclesiastics. 
The town was hung with bunting. Reach- 
ing the chateau * amid the sound of cymbals 
and trumpets, and the combined roar of can- 
non and musketry,' Rohan was harangued 
by the chief magistrate of Schirmeck. In 
the evening there was a general illumination. 
A number of the citizens drank too freely of 
Rhenish wine. The cardinal would not end 
this magnificent day without entering the 
synagogue, which was blazing with lights. 
He stayed there for half an hour, while they 
sang with appropriate gestures a Hebrew 
canticle, of which he understood nothing ; 
but he told the rabbi he thought it 
charming, and thanked the Israelites once 
more for their kindness, their speeches, and 
all the candles they had lit for him. To 
wind up the fete, the more important 
burghers and inhabitants of the town, and 


the dragoon corps in uniform, supped 
copiously in the town hall. In the square 
there was dancing by torchlight all night 
long. The Jews assembled in the house 
of one Daniel Levy, and drank wine and 
beer till dawn. 'In a word, everybody, 
rich, poor, young, old, gave rein to their 
feelings of respect and affection and joy. 
Each and all welcomed the happy return, 
so long desired, of their august prince- 

Sent as deputy to the States-General by 
the clergy of Haguenau, Rohan fulfilled a 
modest part there, notwithstanding the 
efforts made to play him off as a victim of 
despotism. The revolutionary movement 
was growing apace. Reinstated in his title 
of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Louis 
de Rohan retired to Ettenheim-Mlinster, in 
the part of his estates situated on the right 
bank of the Rhine. Though his fortune 
was considerably reduced, he continued to 


support, to the utmost of his power, the 
priests and poor nobles who had been 
driven from their homes. 

The civil constitution of the clergy was 
decreed on July 1 2, 1 790, and their canonical 
institution taken from the Pope. The 
religious orders had been suppressed in 

Rohan on this occasion addressed to his 
clergy and the faithful in his diocese a 
pastoral charge in which he spoke in warm 
terms against the * novelties which the 
Apostle condemns and which are carrying 
desolation into the sanctuary.' He set 
himself to explain — but on this point his 
argument is historically very feeble — that in 
the early days of the Church the pastors were 
not elected by the people. For the Revolu- 
tion was claiming to do nothing else than 
restore the Church to its primitive purity. 
The cardinal was more successful when he 
showed the absurdity of leaving the election 


of bishops in the hands of those who did 
not profess the CathoHc faith. Moreover, 
he undertook the defence of the GalHc 
church, *that ancient edifice, founded on 
the first successors of the Apostles, watered 
by the blood of the martyrs, rendered 
illustrious by the lights of the greatest 
doctors,' and which, he said, was crumbling 
to pieces under their eyes. And further, in 
a bold and thoroughly literary metaphor — 
a reflection from the Academy of which he 
was a member — he added : ' The purple in 
which we are clothed warns us that we 
ought always to be ready, not merely to 
speak, but to shed our blood for the cause 
of God and His Church.' 

These episcopal proceedings were the 
cause of the issue of a decree by the 
National High Court, on July 13, 1791, for. 
the arrest of the cardinal as *the author of 
letters, episcopal charges, canonical ex- 
hortations, pastoral instructions, containing 


formal protests against the constitutional 
laws of the state, and tending to excite the 
people to insurrection.' He was further 
accused of having * charged the Sieur Zipp, 
priest of Schierich, to distribute the libels 
and writings ' incriminated. 

Meanwhile Euloge Schneider, a Fran- 
ciscan, a native of Wlirtzburg, professor of 
philosophy at the University of Bonn, 
appointed by the constitutional bishop of 
Strasburg professor of rhetoric at the 
Grand Seminary, and afterwards his vicar- 
general, was all-powerful in Alsace, and 
was there bringing to the guillotine whole- 
sale all who attempted to teach Frenchmen 
the love of country and liberty. 

Rohan died at Ettenheim on February 
17, 1803, after appointing as his universal 
legatee Charlotte Dorothea de Rohan- 
Rochefort, daughter of Prince Armand de 
Rohan- Rochefort, his cousin-german. She 
had been betrothed to the handsome Duke 


of Enghien, slain by Napoleon s orders in 
the moats of Vincennes, and under the in- 
structions of General Hulin, who had 
been in the front rank of the conquerors 
of the Bastille. 




We have seen that on July 20, 1792, the 
court of the first arrondissement had 
quashed, for a technical flaw, the sentence 
passed on the Count de La Motte, husband 
of Jeanne de Valois, by the Parlement. 
The prisoner was transferred to the Con- 
ciergerie, there to await the definitive 
judgment which would proclaim, he was 
assured, his complete rehabilitation. He 
was still in prison during September ; then, 
being liberated, and escaping the massacre, 
he returned to Bar-sur-Aube. 

On December 6, 1793, he was incar- 
cerated on an information accusing him of 
being in correspondence with Pitt and 

*^ Of THE 


Coburg, and confined with suspects in the 
Grand Seminary of Troyes, where he re- 
mained until July 22, 1794. But he was no 
sooner liberated than he was again put 
under lock and key, and detained until 
October 16. Liberated once more, he 
married for the second time at Bar-sur- 
Aube, his wife being a young girl named 
Marie Clotilde Boudon, who had some 
means of her own. She in course of time 
presented him with a son. This son de- 
parted about 1 8 1 7 for Guadeloupe with the 
battalion despatched to that colony ; but 
his father never heard of him again : the 
young man died there of yellow fever. 

Count Beugnot having been appointed 
director-general of the police, La Motte 
applied to him for assistance. Beugnot 
gave him that and more ; he gave him 
the control of the theatre of the Porte- 
Saint- Martin, at a salary of 3000 francs. 
As we know, Beugnot had peculiar reasons 


for showing benevolence towards the 
husband of Jeanne de Valois, whom he had 
so often taken to dinner at the Cadran bleu. 
La Motte afterwards fulfilled the same 
functions at the same remuneration in the 
gaming-houses. But he could never retain a 
situation ; he was an incorrigible Bohemian. 

* In 1816,' wrote the commissary Marlot, 
who, like himself, came from Bar-sur-Aube, 

* M. Delamotte was recommended to us, 
and the persons who sent him to us inspired 
us with so much respect that their recom- 
mendation could be regarded only as a 
sovereign command. We solicited for him 
a place as inspector of police, and had him 
under our orders for about three years, 
under the name of Delmotte.' The Count 

( de La Motte a police agent under the 
Restoration! — the irony of it is almost 

\^ overwhelming. 

During this period of his life, La Motte 
thus had means of supporting himself in 


a regular manner. He frequented the 
houses of people of good standing, and was 
received in several drawing-rooms described 
by Victor Hugo as * very good and very 
notable.' As is well known, Hugo incor- 
porated in Les Mis^rables fragments of 
personal recollections, and he speaks of the 
Count de La Motte in a vivid and striking 
manner/ He shows him to us in the 
Legitimist drawing-room in the Rue F^rou, 
which he describes in precise terms, except 
that he mentions the habituds only by 
initials — all but La Motte, whom he names 
in full. 

'Madame de T.,' writes Victor Hugo, 
* lived far from the court — '*a very mixed 
society," as she used to say — in an honour- 
able, proud, penurious isolation. A few 
friends met twice a week around her 
widowed hearth, constituting a purely 
Royalist salon. They took tea together, 

1 Les Misdrables^ Part ill. Marius : Book ni. chap. i. 


and gave vent, according as the tide was 
set towards elegy or dithyrambs, to groan- 
ings or cries of horror on the age, the 
charter, the Bonapartists, the prostitution 
of the **blue ribbon" to the middle 
classes, the Jacobinism of Louis xviii. ; and 
they talked under their breath of the 
hopes awakened by Monsieur, afterwards 
Charles x. 

* They used to receive with shrieks of 
mirth vulgar songs in which Napoleon 
was called Nicolas, Duchesses, the most 
refined and charming women of good 
society, went into raptures over rhymes 
like this, addressed to the ''federals" — 

" Renfoncez dans vos culottes 
Le bout d'chemis' qui vous pend ; 
Qu'on n' dis pas qu' les patriotes 
Ont arbore I'drapeau blanc ! " ' 

Such was the society frequented in the 
early years of the Restoration by the 
husband of the late Jeanne de Valois, who 


no doubt did not obtrude the functions in 
which he was then employed by the police. 
He was indeed one of the shining lights of 
the company. 

* Like some church spires,' writes Victor 
Hugo, *the salon of the Baronne de T. 
had two cocks.^ One was Dr. Gillenor- 
mand, the other the Count de Lamotte- 
Valois, about whom they used to whisper 
to each other with a sort of consideration, 
"You know? He's the Lamotte of the 
Necklace business." ' 

La Motte appeared to the baronne's 
guests an old man 'with nothing remark- 
able about him but his silent and sententious 
air, his sharp and expressionless features, 
his perfectly polished manners, his coat 
buttoned up to his cravat, and his long 
legs, always crossed, in loose pantaloons, 
the colour of burnt sienna. His face was 

[^ Coq is used in French as equivalent to our ' cock of the 


the same colour as his pantaloons ! ' La 
Motte was a valued member of the society 
that met in the Rue Ferou. He owed his 
position to his 'celebrity,' and strangely 
enough, as Hugo justly observes, to the name 
of Valois which he tacked on to his own. 

The count appears, however, to have 
rendered some service as a police officer, 
especially in the conspiracy against the 
Duke Decaze in which Generals Donnadieu 
and Canuel were implicated. He was 
skilful in unearthing the authors of books 
and pamphlets which were to be proceeded 
against. Now it happened that Louis xviii. 
had the whim to set on foot inquiries about 
the famous Count de La Motte. The in- 
vestigations intrusted to the police were 
not long, as may be imagined, in bearing 
fruit, and the king was not a little surprised 
to learn that the husband and accomplice 
of the terrible Jeanne de Valois was one 
of the agents attached to his own intelli- 


gence service. Louis suggested that he 
should compile his memoirs, desiring to 
read them as written by his own hand. 
* We were instructed,' writes the commis- 
sary Marlot, * to inform M. Delamotte, and 
we succeeded in inducing him to do what 
the sovereign desired. But at the end of 
some months this original character came 
and told us that he should finish nothing 
unless he were assured of a pension on 
the civil list. This demand offended the 
king, and M. Delamotte was given up : 
since then, he has vegetated in the capital.' 

Meanwhile he had lost his second wife, 
whom he appears to have sincerely loved. 
From that time he sank deeper and deeper 
into want and wretchedness. 

In 1824 we hear of him again. He was 
lodging at No. 8 Rue de la Clef, and was 
in continuous relation with a retired metal- 
turner named Pannisset, an advocate named 
Maitre Caille, and a commission agent 


named Vinet-Barmont. ' Profiting by the 
neglect in which the government left him,' 
notes a report to the Minister of the 
Interior, ' the said Lamotte-Collier recently 
devised a swindling scheme which is by 
no means new to him, and very closely 
resembles the first swindles he so fruitfully 
exploited forty years ago against the un- 
fortunate queen. Lamotte has been for 
some time occupied, along with confeder- 
ates, in the fabrication of an alleged 
correspondence of the royal family, especi- 
ally of the late king Louis xviii. with 
Marat and Robespierre.' A very wealthy 
Englishman had offered a large sum for 
these documents. La Motte tried to entice 
him by reading a few extracts ; but the 
Englishman wanted the originals. ' Im- 
possible,' said La Motte; 'they are at 
Brussels.' The would-be purchaser, rightly 
distrusting the count, broke off the negotia- 


Then the count threatened a second time 
to publish his memoirs, giving the true 
story of the Necklace, he said, adding in 
a tone of deep sadness that the late queen 
and a number of personages of the old 
court would be inevitably compromised in 
them, in spite of his desire to avoid such 
a misfortune. The anxiety of the restored 
monarchy to steer clear of fresh scandals 
may be imagined. Delavau, the prefect 
of police, got his friend Pannisset to speak 
to La Motte. He was offered an assured 
income, provided he drew up a true account 
of the events in which he had been con- 
cerned, and placed it in the hands of the 
government. The bargain was struck, 
and the prefect provided La Motte with a 
lodging in Rue Copeau. He there received 
a monthly pension of one hundred and fifty 
francs, and in addition, the clothes and other 
articles he needed. Pannisset made the pur- 
chases, and his outlay was refunded by the 


prefect of police. This lasted through the 
years 1824 and 1825. La Motte compiled 
his memoirs, and handed them to Pannisset 
when completed, getting a receipt stating 
that he remained the owner. Pannisset 
transmitted them to his friend the prefect. 

They were a tissue of gross and absurd 
lies. The prefect and the Minister of the 
Interior saw that they had been fooled, and 
sent the author about his business. He 
went to lodge with an English doctor 
named Harkell in Rue de la Michodiere, 
afterwards going to live in the village of 

Early in 1827 a lawsuit, which made 
some stir because ' Lamotte-Collier,' as 
he had been called for some years, was 
concerned in it, recalled him to public 
notice. In 1793, as we have said, he had 
been arrested at Troyes as a suspect. 
Ingenious in turning the most trivial cir- 
cumstances to his advantage, La Motte 


had claimed 50,000 francs damages against 
the two officers commanding the detach- 
ment by which he had been apprehended, 
alleging that they had robbed him of horses, 
expensive weapons, and other articles of 
value. The two officers, campaigning with 
the army of the Rhine, had even been 
condemned by default. La Motte now 
revived the affair after thirty years. There 
was a sensation among the audience when 
the advocate of the defendants explained 
in open court exactly who the plaintiff was. / 
* The murderer of the queen ! ' some one 
cried out. ' La Motte's advocate,' we read 
in the Gazette des Tribunaux, * hinting that 
he still had the protection of people in high 
places, and received support from their 
beneficence — he even murmured the word 
** government " — there was a no less lively 
sensation in the audience than in the royal 
court' A report to the Minister of the 
Interior notes down some of the sayings 


of the crowd. ' How can there be any- 
possible connection between such a man 
and any one of the ministers, I don't care 
who it is?' 

* The police will make use of anybody.' 
*If the police do their duty, now that 

another scandal has been caused by the 
appearance of the queen's murderer, they 
can't fail to lock him up in Bicetre.' 

* Maitre Lavaux,' continues the Gazette 
des Tribunaux, ' addressed the court for the 
defendants. In regard to the losses alleged 
by the Count de La Motte, he lost in reality 
only a powder-horn, a pair of pistols, a 
pair of scissors, and a razor (laughter). 
It was true that a judgment was obtained 
by surprise against the defendants in their 
absence. The case he is trying to resus- 
citate is simply an attempt to raise the 
wind. He has printed slanderous memoirs, 
and threatened the defendants that he will 
publish them ; but they refused to have 


anything to do with him/ La Motte was 
fined and condemned in costs. 

This case, which had directed public at- 
tention afresh to the Count de La Motte, 
had unpleasant consequences for him. He 
had formed the habit of taking a daily- 
walk in the galleries of the Palais Royal. 
Noticed, he was hissed and hooted away 
by the people walking there. He then fell 
back on the Luxembourg, a quieter and less 
frequented spot. 

He was lodging at this time at the house 
of a lady named Legrand. Aged seventy- 
five, infirm, crippled with gout and rheu- 
matism, unable to drag himself along without 
crutches, we find him trading to the last 
moment of his life on the scandal of his 
name, and on the injury he would do to the 
royal power by the revelations he was con- 
stantly announcing as a thunderbolt. And 
in truth it almost seems as though the very 
spirit of his first wife were at this time 


animating his shattered frame. In a letter 
of March 24, 1827, Delavau, the prefect of 
poHce, writes to the Minister of the Interioi:: 
' He has just collected in a fresh memoir all 
the slanders and inventions he had already- 
written elsewhere, and he is looking for 
some one who will be good enough to buy 
his disgraceful manuscript.' 

La Motte had known intimately the 
costumier Babin, who had died recently, 
and he continued to visit his house. Babin's 
widow gave him his meals on the days — and 
they were numerous — when his purse did 
not contain enough to buy food. 

At Madame Babin's he met the bookseller 
Correard, and made an agreement with him 
for the publication of new memoirs on the 
everlasting Necklace affair — memoirs so 
compiled as to tickle the palate of the 
public. But as La Motte, old, infirm, in- 
capable of writing, could not hold a pen, 
Correard gave him as collaborator (as 


* toucher-up,' said La Motte) a young 
schoolmaster living at Saint-Denis, a native 
of Bar-sur-Aube like himself. His name 
was Charles Fellens. La Motte undertook 
to furnish within a specified time sufficient 
material for three octavo volumes on the 
Necklace case, the whole to be revised and 
corrected by Fellens. While the work was 
in progress the count had arranged to live 
with Fellens, who would provide him with 
food and all other necessaries. After the 
first volume was issued he was to receive 
an annuity of 1200 francs, the amount for 
the first year to be paid in advance. 

Here then we have our friend at Saint- 
Denis, in Fellens' house, literally under 
lock and key — *in arbitrary confinement/ 
as said a certain Madame Perrot, none 
other than Jeanne de La Tour, La Motte's 
niece, who had so prettily played the inno- 
cent young thing in Cagliostro's magic 
stances. From morning till night La Motte 


scribbled away. Correard put at his dis- 
position all the pamphlets and documents 
he could procure on the Necklace affair, and 
he worked zealously at his compilation, so 
that the bookseller was at first highly pleased 
with the progress made. But gradually his 
ardour cooled. His temporary supervision 
of the gaming-houses had bred in him a 
passion, which grew stronger with age, for 
calculating chances at roulette and trente- 
et-un. One day Fellens saw on his table a 
quantity of cards, and leaves of paper com- 
pletely covered with figures. Asking an 
explanation, he was instructed by La Motte 
in the science of gambling. He conceived 
a passion for it, and then both of them, 
author and * toucher-up,* throwing aside the 
manufacture of memoirs, might have been 
seen playing at cards from night till morn- 
ing, and from morning till night calculating 
the probabilities. Fellens was so blindly 
infatuated with his tutor's method that he 


decided to sell his school, and with the 
proceeds to break all the banks in the 
capital at trente-et-un. 

The new prefect of police, De Belleyme, 
hearing about the scheme for publishing 
memoirs on the Necklace, intervened as his 
predecessor had done. Once more applica- 
tion was made to M. Pannisset, the quondam 
metal-turner, now tenant of the Henri iv. 
baths. On September i, 1828, the count 
signed the following receipt, which he placed 
in Pannisset's hands : — 

* I, the undersigned, acknowledge the re-*^ 
ceipt from M. Pannisset of the sum of 500 
francs, in return for which I agree not to 
demand from him, or from any one whatso- 
ever, the return of the notes relative to the 
Necklace affair which I have given him at 
different times, and also bind myself to 
write no more on that subject, nor to furnish 
any material whatsoever relating to it* "^ 

It may be imagined that his project of 



publishing memoirs was now definitively 
given up. ' Under a simple exterior,' says a 
note from the prefecture of police addressed 
about this time to the Minister of the 
Interior, * La Motte is really very crafty.' 

On January 5, 1829, four months after 
signing the above undertaking, he wrote to 
Belleyme, the prefect of police : ' The 
moment I learnt of your appointment to 
succeed M. Delavau, hope sprang up anew 
in my heart, and I thought I should succeed 
in making known the wrong-doing and in- 
justice of your predecessor. Then I got 
Dr. Harkell to present to you the true 
story of the conduct of M. Delavau and 
his agents in trying to persuade me to 
write my memoirs and deliver the manu- 
script to them. I had been recommended 
not to compromise the queen. I have as 
much as possible avoided the suspicions 
hovering about her, and only too well 
founded.' Note the last phrase. 


La Motte adds that he has made up his 
mind to sue Pannisset before the courts for 
the restitution of the manuscript of his 
memoirs, which he had been prudent 
enough to hand over only in exchange for 
a receipt acknowledging that Pannisset held 
them merely in trust. Then M. Gauthier, 
head of the third police bureau, intervened, 
says La Motte, and urged Pannisset to 
make an amicable arrangement in order 
to avoid the scandal of publicity. ' At this 
time I was in a very unfortunate plight. 
M. Gauthier knew this, and thought that 
in my distress I should be glad enough to 
accept any trifle. On the verge of being 
homeless and without food, I was forced to 
accept the 500 francs which Gauthier offered 
me, out of which Pannisset kept 55 francs 
for his expenses. So I received 445 francs, 
and of this sum I owed 300 to my landlord 
for board and lodging. M. Gauthier took 
care to make me give him a receipt, in 


which it was said that I agreed to return 
to Pannisset the receipt I got from him, 
never to write again on this subject, and 
never to supply anybody with notes that 
could serve the same object.' And he goes 
on : * There 's an old proverb which says 
''necessity has no law." I should have 
signed anything that was put before me at 
that critical moment.' 

La Motte could not believe that the 
prefect of police had had any hand in 
this transaction. 'About a fortnight ago/ 
he continues, 'finding myself in the same 
situation as that in which I was forced to 
accept the 500 francs from M. Gauthier, a 
person of my acquaintance, to whom I had 
revealed my distress, proposed to present 
me to a person who might be useful to 
me and perhaps secure me a livelihood. 
I did not hesitate, and allowed myself to 
be taken to him. I found two persons 
instead of one. They proposed to make 


arrangements with me to take up my 
memoirs afresh, without concealing any- 
thing about the numerous persons who 
had figured in the Necklace affair. To 
come to a complete understanding on all 
these points, they had a second meeting 
with me in the country on December 28 
last. I met the two gentlemen, and they 
showed me three sheets of stamped paper 
on a table, telling me that we should have 
time to draw up three deeds before dinner. 
I stopped them for a moment to inform 
them of the agreement M. Gauthier had 
made me sign, but told them that I regarded 
the agreement as null and void after the 
conduct that had been shown towards me, 
comparing him, in the position in which 
I then found myself, to a man demanding 
my money or my life in the depths of a 
wood, and presenting a pistol at my head.' 

The two gentlemen were charmed with 
the comparison, but thought the agreement 


constituted an obstacle to the publication of 
new memoirs. 

' Is that all ? Why, that 's the best of it ! 
They will attack you ; all the better for our 
interests and yours if they make a scandal. 
We will defend ourselves, and the editions 
will go off all the quicker.' 

La Motte then enumerates the excellent 
terms made with him: a salary of 1200 
francs, and 200 francs extra for every new 
edition. There was also talk of reprinting 
the memoirs of Madame de La Motte burnt 
in the furnace at Sevres ; by so doing his 
annual income would be raised by 100 

He concludes : * In this state of things, 
wishing to avoid scandal, my age, my in- 
firmities, and my repugnance to making 
myself talked about, and especially to 
offending the royal family by the confessions 
and the details I should have been forced 
to give in the course of the work, decided 


me before writing a single line to consult 
you as to what I ought to do, for it will be 
an easy matter to treat with these gentle- 

* I will merely mention to you, Monsieur 
the Prefect, that the death of the unfortunate 
Louis XVI. left me without means of sub- 
sistence, and that if Louis xviii., who had 
desired to know all the details of this affair 
[we have seen above what had induced 
the king to give up his desire], had lived 
a few months longer, I should not have 
been reduced to-day to begging your pro- 
tection in order to obtain an equivalent for 
the agreement made with these gentlemen. 
If I obtain this favour from you, I shall 
pass the remainder of my days in peace and 
happiness. I am seventy-five years old. I 
am crushed by infirmities, and have scarcely 
strength enough left to drag myself along 
with crutches. In this unhappy state I am 
expecting every day to succumb, owing to 


the awful pain I suffer and the falls I am 
constantly having. The government or the 
persons with whom I have been in treaty 
will not have me long as an annuitant.' 

The concluding passage is presented with 
all the formality and the flattery he thinks 
necessary. ' The eulogy which is passed 
on your administration, added to the 
eminent qualities which distinguish you, 
persuade me that you will use your credit to 
prevent a scandal. I am assured that in 
your wisdom and intelligence you will well 
weigh the course that should be adopted 
in these circumstances. I am at ease 
regarding the future.' 

A perfect letter in its kind : ingeniously 
woven subtleties, insinuations, unctuous in 
their impudence, a honeyed and unblushing 
attempt at extortion. 

The prefect of police remitted the matter 
to the commissary Marlot, who replied on 
July i6, 1829: *I have known the Count 


de La Motte since his childhood. He is a 
fellow-countryman of mine, and I knew him 
in his days of splendour and renown, as 
well as in the poverty into which he is ever 
sinking deeper. He has been writing for 
five months as often as his feeble health 
permits, and submitting pages for Fellens' 
correction as he writes them. He has 
already completed twenty-eight manuscript 
books, which they calculate will make two 
volumes. They are padding them out to 
make three if they can. On Monday the 1 3th 
M. Fellens came to Paris, accompanied by 
M. de La Motte, whom he keeps a tight hold 
on. They left a part of the manuscript with 
Corr^ard, enough for the first volume. The 
printer is going to begin at once, and the 
other two volumes will follow as rapidly as 
possible, so that they may be issued to the 
public within two months at the latest. 
M. de La Motte is very anxious to have an 
interview with me, and wants to be freed 


from the clutches of Fellens, of whom he 
has a good deal to complain. He asks for 
a pension, in return for which he would un- 
dertake to publish nothing. Would he keep 
his word ? I doubt it, and I should be very- 
sorry to go bail for him in that respect.' 

The commissary concludes : * This La 
Motte is an old man as hardened in vice 
as he is to reverses. We doubt whether he 
has enough inclination towards good to be 
honest and remain faithful to an engage- 
ment. Nevertheless, as he is infirm, in- 
dolent, and incapable of doing anything by 
himself, it will be a great thing if Fellens 
can be detached from him and strictly 
forbidden to ply the trade of pamphleteer 
(does he not, in his capacity as schoolmaster, 
depend on the minister of public instruc- 
tion ?). Madame Perrot, the niece (formerly 
Jeanne de La Tour), assures me that the 
memoirs will be virulent and scandalous, 
and that no august name will be spared.' 


Further, Marlot was to have an interview 
at the first opportunity with La Motte 
himself. He met him on July 17. The 
count repeated that he was anxious not to 
have his memoirs printed. * He would give 
up the idea,' says Marlot, * if the govern- 
ment would guarantee him a pension.' It 
would not be for long, he adds, since La 
Motte was in such a state of decrepitude 
that it was impossible to think he could last 
much longer. 

These projects of publishing the memoirs 
of Count de La Motte and reprinting those 
of his wife formed part of a larger plan of 
campaign against the late queen Marie 
Antoinette, whom the * patriots ' continued 
to regard as insufficiently guillotined. Atj^ 
this very time, Baudouin, the bookseller, 
was occupied in publishing certain letters 
alleged to have been written by her and to 
her before and during the Revolution, in 


which details of high relish were expected. 
' M. Baudouin,' says a report to the Minister 
of the Interior, dated August 2, 1829, 'has 
already given so many marks of hatred 
against religion and the monarchy, by print- 
ing seditious writings, that several members 
of the Bourbon family, as he says himself, 
could not but be justly alarmed at the 
announcement mentioned above.' The 
report gives other details : * It is no doubt 
on account of his devotion to the anti- 
religious and anti-monarchical cause, and 
by way of encouragement and a mark of 
affection, that the Society of the Temple, 
of which he is a member, has intrusted to 
him the high functions of general steward 
of the estates of the order; an honorary 
office, it is true, since the order of the said 
Templars possesses no known estates.' 

On Saturday, August i, a Templar had 
visited Baudouin, and found him walking 
up and down in the gardens of the mad- 


house in Rue de I'Oursine, where he was 
then living. Baudouin knew that the 
government had written to Vienna. 

* For all that, I am in possession of some 
original and authentic copies of the letters 
I have announced for publication.' 

* But aren't you afraid of a surprise raid ? ' 
asked the Templar. 

* That was thought of, but they haven't 
dared to do it. Besides, I have taken 
measures to protect my papers from forcible 
seizure. They sent detectives to me to 
try to pick up a few stray bits of paper. 
They 've made me offers, or hinted at doing 
so, but I have paid them no attention.' 

* I must tell you,' said the Templar, * that 
some people are afraid you will give way.' 

* No fear of that. It's too good a thing 
for the patriots. I am a child of the 

A note affixed to the report gives the 
information that these letters of the queen 


extended from the year 1788 to her in- 
carceration at the Temple. They were 
addressed to the Emperor of Austria, 
Madame de Polignac, the Duke of Luxem- 
bourg, and several persons at court. The 
greater part were copies of letters in cipher. 
All were apocryphal. 

About the middle of August 1829, 
Marlot had a second interview with La 
Motte, who came to see him of his own 
accord. * He came to sound us,' writes the 
police officer, 'on our ideas as to the 
intentions of the new Ministry (the Polignac 
Ministry), desiring to learn if the present 
authorities entered into the views of MM. 
de Martignac and Belleyme, which appeared 
to be to purchase the silence of this wretch, 
in guaranteeing him a pension, and in- 
demnifying his collaborators, Fellens and 
Correard. We stood on the greatest re- 
serve in this matter with M. de La Motte, 
contenting ourselves with persuading him 


to temporise, to act with circumspection, 
and not to run risks that would be fatal, 
not to his reputation, which is a mere 
illusion for a man of his stamp, but to his 
personal security. He appeared to pay- 
heed to our remarks, or rather, they 
seemed to scare him, by suggesting to his 
mind a future of worry as the inevitable 
consequence of his unpleasant publications. 

* M. de La Motte,' continues Marlot, 'con- 
fided to us that his work contained some 
very virulent passages, and in particular 
some curious revelations on the intimacy 
between the late queen and Madame de 
Polignac, mother of the present minister.' 

Then follows a passage which it is im- 
possible to reproduce : its purport may be 

*At this,' adds Marlot, 'we could not 
contain our indignation, and we told M. 
de La Motte pretty plainly that if such 
disgusting things came out, the only 


possible result for him would be disgrace 
and a severe sentence. He left us, promis- 
ing with his tongue in his cheek that he 
would think it over/ 

The prefect of police sent to the Minister 
of the Interior a report in which the details 
given by Marlot were summarised. The 
report added : * It will soon be a year since 
La Motte-Valois proposed to sell his silence 
to the Administration. He asked for a 
pension of three or four hundred francs, 
and a shelter at the Hospice of Chaillot. 
This offer was not accepted ; perhaps it 
might be renewed.' A marginal note tells 
us that the minister thought there was no 
occasion to reopen the matter. The 
promises of La Motte struck him as 

There were two separate compilations of 
the Memoirs of Nicolas de La Motte : the 
first handed to Pannisset in 1824, trans- 


mitted by him to the prefecture of police, 
and deposited in the archives of the 
prefecture, whence it shortly afterwards 
disappeared. But in the sequel the 
manuscript was discovered, as is shown 
by the following letter, dated August 8, 
1829, addressed by Belleyme to the 
Minister of the Interior : — 

* I have the honour to transmit to your 
excellency the manuscript of the Memoirs of 
M. Delamotte-Valois, which M. Duplessis, 
late chief of division at the prefecture, has 
just handed to me, to make what use of it 
your excellency thinks fit.' 

This first compilation, still unpublished, is 
preserved to-day in the National Archives. 
A second version, which La Motte tried to 
get bought up, as we have seen, was 
compiled in collaboration with Fellens. It 
was published long after its author's death 
by Louis Lacour, numerous passages 
being suppressed. 


The compilation and publication of these 
Memoirs, for the sake of the profit he hoped 
to derive through the scandal they would 
create, was La Motte s constant preoccupa- 
tion during the last part of his life, just as 
the publication of her memoirs had filled the 
last days of his wife Jeanne de Valois. Both 
regarded them simply as a means of bringing 
pressure to bear on the royal government, 
alarmed at the sensation they were bound 
to make. 

The Memoirs of the Count de La Motte, 
often quoted from the edition issued by 
Louis Lacour in 1858, are, to put it shortly, 
of no historical value whatever : they are a 
tissue of lies and clumsy fables. Doubtless 
they contain authentic details which it 
would be very interesting to sift out and 
collect : but how is it possible to distinguish 
them among the heaps of falsehoods ? La 
Motte composed his account of the Necklace 
affair forty years after the events, at an 


advanced age, and in deplorable weakness 
and decrepitude. And finally, he made . 
great use of other works relating to those 
events, works supplied him by his associates ; 
so that his Memoirs are not even personal 
recollections, nor was it he who held the pen. 

The prefecture of police resolved to 
ignore the opinion expressed by the minister 
in his marginal note to its report. Possibly, 
indeed, the minister himself changed his 
mind. Whether or no, La Motte was again y 
pensioned, from dread of a scandal. As 
we have just seen, his Memoirs did not 
appear until after his death. 

*0n September 14, 1829,' writes Lafont 
d'Aussonne, * as I was crossing the Luxem- 
bourg wood on my way to the gate nearest the 
Rue Cassette, I caught sight of the Count de 
La Motte entering the great chestnut avenue. 
I followed his stumbling footsteps as he 
shuffled along heavily on his two crutches. 


His elegant and careful get-up, his perfectly 
polished manners, his courtly mode of saluta- 
tion, spoke in his favour. The ladies sitting 
on the seat moved up so that he might be 
more comfortable. I placed myself very 
near the count, and called him aloud by his 
name.' They entered into conversation. 
*M. de Belleyme,' said the count, * continued 
to give me a little pension of loo louis out of 
the police funds. He sent for me as I 
was finishing the revision of my Memoirs. 
He condescended to announce his change 
of plans for the following week. "• Drop 
all these stories," he said to me as we 

La Motte was at this time living with 
his niece, Madame Perrot, at 17 Rue des 

We meet him for the last time in the 
eventful days of July 1830, at the age of 
seventy-seven. He was caught in a crowd, 
and fell wounded. The officer of gen- 


darmerie who was on duty had him carried 
to a neighbouring house. On October 11, 
1 83 1, he entered the hospital of St. Louis, 
and died there on November 6. In the 
last years of his life he had made several 
attempts at suicide. * I followed the river- 
bank as far as Villeneuve-Saint-Georges. 
With the help of my two hands, I slid 
down to the edge of the embankment. I 
looked at the spot where I was going to 
fall, and was on the point of letting go the 
grass I was firmly holding, when, plunging 
my eyes into the depths about to swallow 
me up, I fancied I saw billows of blood 
rolling down the stream.' These billows of 
blood, he declares, recalled to his mind the 
events of September, and he lost all desire 
to commit suicide. 

His death is announced in t\i^ Journal de 
Paris in the following terms : ' M. Musto- 
phragasis. Count de Valois, Knight of St. 
Louis and of the Crown, noble of Angou- 


leme, has just died in Paris, at an advanced 
age, and in poverty. He was the husband 
of the famous Madame de La Motte-Valois. 
He was generally known by the name of 





So great was the impression produced by 
the Necklace affair that, as often happens 
in similar circumstances, the principal actors 
in the drama came to life again after their 

In 1793, the Count de Semalld met at 
Liege the Baronne d'Oliva, who had been 
buried at Vincennes on June 25, 1789. 
This reincarnation of the pretty Nicole 
Leguay was married to a certain M. de La 
Tour, and in concert with him was passing 
forged notes in various parts of France. Her 
resemblance to the queen, says Semalle, 
was striking. * She assured me more than 
once that she had no suspicion of the odious 


part she had been made to play in the 
intrigue, and that she had been the dupe 
of Madame de La Motte.' But one morning 
Semalle learnt that the soi-disant Baronne 
d'Oliva had quietly absconded, along with 
her husband. 

The last of the biographers of Madame 
de La Motte, M. Louis de Soudak, found 
the heroine (who, as we have seen, died 
in London on August 23, 1791) in the 
Crimea in 1825. Staroi-Krim bears little 
trace to-day of the incomparable Solkata of 
the Armenian poets, the rival of Stamboul, 
which the finest cavaliers of the Golden 
Band could barely ride round at a gallop 
in half a day. Where once rose the ancient 
ramparts are now ditches, almost filled with 
sand by the winds of the Steppes. Beyond 
them is an old mosque propped up by rude 
beams, and traces of the ancient palaces, 
pulled to pieces by hands eager to construct 
new dwellings, which in their turn are 


crumbling away. In that spot there exists 
the garden of an Armenian potter, and in 
the garden may be found an old man seated 
on a large stone. In slow tones and with 
measured gesture the greybeard relates as 
follows : — 

* There used to be in these parts a 
Countess Gachet, a former Queen of France, 
who had stolen a Necklace. I was a little 
fellow when she called me to her side, to 
amuse me with a large diamond, which 
she turned round in the sunlight at the 
end of a golden chain, till it made me 
blink. When she died, and was undressed 
to wash her body, two letters were found 
branded on her shoulders.' 

* It is strange,' says Louis de Soudak, 
'that the name and the story of the 
heroine of the Necklace case should have 
reached the Crimea at a time when that 
peninsula had few inhabitants but Tartars 
and absolutely ignorant Greek fishermen.' 


* In 1894,' continues the traveller, *I 
stopped one beautiful sunny morning at 
Gourzouf, near Yalto, under a superb plane- 
tree, at the spot where it appears that 
Poushkin wrote some of his finest verses. 
Seeing a Tartar passing by, I asked him 
what interesting things were to be seen in 
the district. Indicating the north by a 
gesture, he answered: **At Artek, a few 
versts in that direction, there is a house 
where Madame Gachet lived, a woman 
who had stolen a very fine necklace from 
the queen of your country. When she 
died, two big letters were seen on her 
back.'" The legend, it will be seen, is 
very precise, and it is diffused throughout 
the country. 

On the other hand, the Baronne Bod6 in 
her Memoirs gives some curious details 
about the Countess Gachet, n^e Valois, 
Countess de La Motte, who was settled in 
the Crimea from 1820 to 1830. * I see her 


still,' she says, 'oldish, slight in figure, but 
well made, dressed in a grey cloth overall. 
Her white hair was covered with a black 
velvet cap. She spoke a choice French, 
with animation and grace. . . . She had 
known Cagliostro, had an inexhaustible 
fund of stories of the court of Louis xvi., 
and gave me to understand that there was 
a great mystery in her life. ' 

In her will the Countess Cachet appointed 
the father of Baronne Bode her executor. 
Her Armenian servant related that the 
countess, feeling ill, had spent the whole 
night in sorting and burning papers. She 
had forbidden her body to be touched, and 
ordered that she should be buried just as 
she was. In laying out the corpse, the 
old servant noticed on her back two marks, 
evidently made by red-hot iron. 

Louis de Soudak paused in emotion before 
the stone placed over the lady's tomb. 
'Accompanied by an Armenian deacon,' 


he writes, * I spent several hours in wander- 
ing about the cemetery, covered with oats 
and nettles. I found many very old tomb- 
stones buried under dead bodies interred 
above them. The inscriptions had dis- 
appeared. The frequent rains and the 
sea-winds blowing from Theodosia had 
effaced everything. Thence I repaired to 
the spot where the cottage of the countess 
stood. On the face of a charming ravine, the 
little peasant's dwelling nestled coquettishly, 
smiling in its bed of verdure. Near by, 
behind the trees, a windmill spread its great 
vertebrated sails towards the blue sky. 
Flocks of geese screeched a hostile recep- 
tion, while the owner, a sturdy Bulgarian, 
seemed hardly to relish the inquisitive 
glance I threw over his little domain. 
Returning by the silent ravine, at the 
bottom of which a brook flows, watering 
the flourishing kitchen garden, I reflected 
that the hapless exile must often have 


wandered in that spot, and that, far from 
France, her poor heart must then have 
suffered bitter rancour and poignant re- 

Who could the mysterious stranger have 
been ? The field of conjecture is bound- 
less. Doubtless she was some unfortunate 
creature who had escaped from a house 
of detention during the troubles of the 
Revolution, and had found the opportunity 
to set off the depths of her degradation by 
means of a legend. 

After dying in London in 1791, and then 
in the Crimea in 1825, Madame de La Motte 
died once more in Paris in 1844. Nearly 
all the journals made themselves echoes of 
this sensational end. On returning from 
the emigration, a bishop had introduced to 
society, at the house of one of the wealthiest 
nobles of the district, a mysterious lady. 
The marquis gave her a wing of his 


mansion, and devoted two domestics to her 
service. He granted her a pension. Before 
his death, he recommended his heir to con- 
tinue these favours. The unknown lady 
never went out except to go to church and 
to visit the poor. She was infinitely kind- 
hearted, and the poor used to kiss her 
hands. But she was brought, by the very 
people she succoured, into relations with 
the noblest ladies of the Faubourg Saint- 
Germain. She was compelled to throw 
open her drawing-room. She was a won- 
derful talker, relating anecdotes with all 
the grace of the olden time ; and she 
played at whist and reversi. It was a 
favour much sought after to be admitted to 
her circle — to be received by the Countess 
Jeanne, the only name she bore. For 
thirty years she went on giving alms, talk- 
ing, and playing reversi. Then death rent 
the veil. In the dead lady's room they 
found a heap of half-burnt papers. Death 


had surprised her throwing the secret of 
her Hfe to the flames. Amazing discovery ! 
the Countess Jeanne, the holy and revered 
saint, was Madame de La Motte ! At any 
rate, so declared all the newspapers of Paris 
in the month of May 1844. 








DEC 4 1936 

* ^ ^^ T t> O P 

viAnat 3^, 



3Jii i i'&iLE 


AUG 4 1961 

MAY 3 1 9 ^ 







OCT 1 4 1953 


— REC 

^^^^ mi^ " ^ 

OCT 14 1956 



AUG 7 1986 

APR 2 5 1978 

LD 21-]